DSS overtime approved

Published 10:22 am Thursday, October 20, 2011

JACKSON — Employees with the Northampton County Department of Social Services served more than half of the county’s citizens with the Food Stamp Disaster Assistance Program.

On Monday, DSS Director Dr. Al Wentzy spoke to the Board of Commissioners about the operation which took place September 10-14 in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Wentzy came before the board to request approval to pay overtime for employees for the administration of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Emergency Assistance Program.

Wentzy said 6,157 citizens were seen by the staff, reflecting some 10,781 of the population served.

“Please know too that over 60 percent of those served were not normal DSS clients,” he said.

The amount of USDA program disbursements authorized was $1.38 million.

“Interestingly, there is an economic development formula that for every dollar invested in (USDA) Food Stamp Program the community multiplier is $1.84,” he said. “If we use that formula it would mean DSS was able, on behalf of our county citizens, infuse $2,547,758 in our area.”

Wentzy said the average payment for those not enrolled in the Food Stamp Program was $341 and $169 for those currently enrolled.

He anticipated 1,865 DSS employee hours (straight and overtime) to be paid. A cost of $32,000 at a 50 percent reimbursement results in a $16,000 net county cost.

“I’m indeed proud of your DSS team for their professional, caring and dedicated service to our citizens and want to recognize the entire county team who supported us during this program,” he said.

Commissioner Virginia Spruill asked Wentzy if during the time his staff was providing services if they ran into any kind of difficulties in terms of space or operations.

“Absolutely, it was very, very difficult in what we consider inadequate physical (space in the) building,” he said. “We had a lot of people having to wait outside, they were neat and orderly, but you may remember that the temperature was in the mid-nineties during that entire time.”

He added it was difficult because there were some elderly and young children with their families waiting.

“It was just totally inadequate, and it was just standing room only, when you consider we saw 6,157 of our citizens in a five day period,” he said.

Commissioner Spruill moved to approve the overtime. Commissioner Robert Carter offered a second and the measure passed without objection.