Panel chosen to pick Human Services board

Nov. 23, 2012 @ 07:59 AM

Union County moved closer to establishing a consolidated human services department.

The Union County Board of Commissioners voted 3 to 1 to create a nomination committee that would pick 24 people to make up the new consolidated human services board. Outgoing Commissioner Tracy Kuehler voted against it, stating she believed the health department and department of social services should retain oversight by two autonomous boards.

A new state law allows counties to take over responsibility of providing the same services as health departments and DSS.

Commissioner Jonathan Thomas suggested medical professionals Nancy Randall, Evelyn Blackley and Michael J. Johnson be installed as members of the nomination committee. He also recommnded the board also name James Struve an alternate. All four nominations were approved by unanimous vote.

The county plans to form a new consolidated board made up of 17 members who reflect the county's population makeup. Four members will be clients of the county's human services departments. Eight will be medical professionals, a psychologist, pharmacist, engineer, dentist, optometrist, veterinarian, social worker and a nurse. Two will be licensed physicians. And one will be a county commissioner.

Commissioners also authorized County Manager Cindy Coto to create a job classification and spend up to $25,000 on a recruiting firm to search for a qualified candidate for consolidated human services director.

The county plans construction of a new consolidated human services building in the future, which will not likely be finished before the the county's current lease on Union Village expires. The board approved an amendment in the lease, extending it two years into 2017. A separate agenda item committed the county to partial roof repair or replacement to the Union Village building. The building's owner has not maintained the building in a way to prevent roof leaking and mold growth.

Union County residents interested in serving on the new consolidated human services board should call County Clerk Lynn West at 283-3853 or by emailing west@co.union.nc.us.