LAURINBURG — The Scotland County Department of Social Services Board has hired a consultant to review the department’s operations and management following complaints by some DSS employees.
In February, the five-member DSS board sent a letter to all employees of the department, saying that Drake Maynard of DM HR Services would conduct the review and asked for their cooperation.
The board is scheduled to meet with Maynard on May 5 to discuss his findings.
The letter said the DSS board had received “numerous complaints” from Social Services employees over the past 18 months.
“We, the board, have looked into these negative comments and complaints,” the letter said. “We have taken measures that we felt would help remedy the situation. Unfortunately, we continue to receive negative comments and complaints.”
As a result, the letter said that the department’s turnover rates remain “unacceptably high.” The board said employee turnover increases the workload of those left at the department.
“Our goal as a board has always been to have an effective, highly functioning department providing the highest quality services to the people of the county,” the letter said. “However, with the level of negativity and complaints we have seen, it appears that this goal is a long distance away.”
DSS board Chairman Joyce McDow declined to list any of the concerns expressed by employees. But an anonymous letter sent to The Exchange tried to tie morale problems to county DSS Director April Snead.
Snead, who has been with the department for 14 years and director for two years, denied that her leadership was an issue. She declined to comment on the review.
McDow said any DSS director’s job performance is a personnel issue and could not be discussed publicly.
“Dr. Maynard is not there to address allegations about [Snead],” McDow said. “He’s there to look at the whole department and see what’s good and what they can do to improve.”
DSS board member Guy McCook said employees always have the option to make a formal grievance.
“We have a process in place for employees to file complaints,” McCook said. “I would encourage any employee who feels they have need to file a complaint to do so. We have a set of practices in place in the county to handle complaints.”
McCook added that he thought the turnover rate was too high, but that it is a typical for the field of social work.
“The board looked at the turnover rate over the last few years, and there are other county departments of social services similar to ours that have similar turnover rates.”
County Manager Kevin Patterson said Maynard will “look at all levels of supervisors at DSS” between February and May. Maynard will also ask employees to provide copies of documents and other materials. The review will cost the county about $18,000, according to Patterson.
Maynard is based in Chapel Hill and his LinkedIn profile said that he provides human resources consulting services to public employers in the areas of policy development and administration, employee relations, training and coaching for supervisors and managers.
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169