County discusses consolidation of human service departments

By: Jael Pembrick - Staff writer

LAURINBURG — The Scotland County Board of Commissioners met Monday night to discuss topics that were pushed from the regular meeting earlier this month.

The board talked about merging the Department of Social Services and the Scotland County Health Department into a consolidated Human Services Agency board to bring up to pace some of the county’s policies that have fallen behind. The consolidation would change the structure of the pay of employees for both departments.

“The purpose (of the subequivalent) is to make sure that the county policies give the same protection as the state policies do,” Kevin Patterson, county manager, said, “so that when we hire and fire we don’t discriminate — and we have a policy that looks for the best candidate without preference.”

He explained that the policies now have health service employees under the office of state human resources and county personnel. A new social worker and one with three years of experience are indexed together, so if they change one group they have to change the other.

Under the consolidation, they would only be under county personnel. The county manager would be the one to hire and fire the health department director and social service director, instead of the departments’ separate boards. Through that consolidation, the HSA would meet quarterly.

“If we go under substantially equivalent, more flexibility, it would give them the ability to step away from the state plan which has not been updated for 30 years,” Patterson added.

The commissioners decided to table the consolidation and voted to bring in Drake Maynard to rewrite and update the county policies to be sub equivalent to the state. The board will then have to wait for the state’s approval, which could take up to eight months.

In other business, the board voted Brian Gibson to be added to the Scotland County Planning and Zoning Board.

Jael Pembrick can be reached at 910-506-3169 or [email protected]


Jael Pembrick

Staff writer