Wentzy retires; Evans promoted

Published 10:38 am Tuesday, December 20, 2011

JACKSON — A long time Northampton County employee is saying goodbye.

Dr. Al Wentzy, director of Northampton County Department of Social Services, recently announced his retirement after more than four decades of public service.

At a recent Northampton County Board of Commissioners meeting, Wentzy spoke about his replacement, Shelia Evans, a veteran of Northampton DSS.

“As you know I am scheduled to retire with 42 years of public service and the DSS Board has recently selected Ms. Shelia Evans as our new director,” he said.

Wentzy said Evans has over 20 years of DSS experience and other allied experiences. She currently serves as the supervisor of Children and Family Services.

“She is well respected by all, she represents the agency while I’m absent and she is a Northampton County resident,” he said.

Wentzy said the director is a specialty position with significant responsibility for the county’s largest department with a $60 million federal, state and county budget.

“Ms. Evans has the potential to advocate for substantially more funds on behalf of our needy citizens and continue the successful existing outreach to our needy citizens with the least county money,” he said.

The DSS Board unanimously concluded and requested that Evans’ salary be set at Grade 77, Step 10, reflecting $65,831 in annual salary. Wentzy noted that salary is reimbursable by 50 percent from state and federal sources.

“(It) equates to $32,916 county cost, which is $11,000 less than our existing authorized DSS budget,” he said.

Both Finance Officer Dot Vick and County Manager Wayne Jenkins noted in their comments on the decision paper that Evans should not be started at Step 10 per the county’s Personnel Policy Manual.

“I feel that Grade 77, step 10 should not be granted until Ms. Evans has met her (9) month Probationary period. Step 10 is not in line with other employees receiving promotions.” Vick wrote. “Also, the funding source should never be considered in their department or any other department, the county’s adopted pay plan should be the guide.”

Jenkins agreed with Vick, but noted he would support the decision by the board.

“The Northampton County Personnel Policy Manual authorizes the County Manager to start a new employee on grade at step 3 provided justification for doing so is demonstrated,” he wrote. “In this case and in keeping within compliance of the Personnel Policy, the Director would start on Grade 77 Step 3 with an annual salary of $55,382. However, this is a Board of Commissioners’ decision as to setting the Director’s salary and I will support the decision made by the Board.”

Wentzy said he respected those comments and he along with the DSS Board strived to use the county pay plan when appropriate.

“However, please know also that based on the January 2011 UNC Institute of Government pay study of North Carolina county DSS directors, the average DSS director in North Carolina is $88,133,” he said. “So if we were to set the salary as noted in the comments only one, very small North Carolina county would pay less and Ms. Evans has 20 years DSS experience.”

Wentzy added he had the two and half pages of documentation of the pay study which was used by the DSS Board to reach their salary recommendation.

Commission Chair James Hester asked if Evans was still working on her master’s degree.

Wentzy responded she was not at this time.

“She has her hands full,” he said. “I would like to think she has a master’s in experience though.”

According to the resume provided with the decision paper, Evans has 12 hours from 1997 completed on her master’s.

Commissioner Chester Deloatch moved to accept the recommendation from the DSS Board. Commissioner Robert Carter offered a second and the motion passed without objection.