Final three

Published 11:23 am Friday, March 30, 2012

GATESVILLE – And then there were three.

According to the most recent update, the search to replace outgoing Gates County Department of Social Services Director Colleen Turner has been narrowed to three candidates.

At their meeting here March 7, the Gates County Board of Commissioners were brought up to date on the process to fill Turner’s position.

Turner, who has served as the county’s DSS Director for the past 11 years, announced in late November that she has decided to return to the home of her youth in southwest Florida to be near family and to head a non-profit organization that works to improve health and well-being outcomes for at-risk youth.

As was announced in late November, Turner’s last day on the job in Gates County is scheduled for June 30. That final day may come sooner than expected.

“I’m pleased to inform you that we had 11 total applications for the position. In that pack there were six qualified applicants and three extremely qualified applicants,” Turner told the commissioners at their March meeting.

That top three will each earn an interview.

“I am confident after having conversations with those top three candidates that the (DSS) board will find their candidate in those three interviews,” Turner stated. “My personal goal, and the board is aware of this, is that we shoot for a start date of April 15, depending on which candidate is selected and their skill and knowledge with North Carolina Department of Social Services.”

Turner said she could remain onboard for two weeks following the hiring of her replacement. She added that time period could be as many as 30 days, which is allowed by the state (an overlap of two people employed in the same position).

“If the desire is to have me involved after that at budget workshops, the budget hearing, working with them on the administrative reimbursement report….the finance officer has asked me to be involved as much as I can before I go,” Turner said.

She continued, “The board has been diligent in staying on track with their time frame. I think we are on schedule to get this done in a timely manner and with ample transition.”

As far as the final three candidates, Turner said two live far enough away that they would have to relocate.

“They desire to move here (if hired),” Turner said.

The other candidate, according to Turner, lives nearby. If that person is selected by the DSS Board, Turner said it was likely they would not move to Gates County.

“We gave that a lot of thought; we did indicate in the job recruitment that candidates willing to relocate to the county is preferred,” Turner said. “We all agree that the investment is stronger when the director lives in the county. Two of the three candidates volunteered their thoughts on that and agreed that the local presence is important; to be connected to the faith community, to be seen locally.”

Turner said she would keep the commissioners updated on the progress of the search.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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