Stanly County Board of Commissioners Proposes Change – Why?

I hate writing an article without having all the facts, but this is one of those times I’m having a hard time actually gleaning all the facts together in one place, so putting together what I know, what I’ve heard, and asking for others to help fill in the blanks might be helpful.

Credit where it is due

Click for Bio

Before I begin telling this story in it’s entirety, I feel the need to mention that almost 100% of the research and information I’m going to share with you was NOT performed by yours truly. This only came into my hands 48 hours ago and I’m having to rely on the research of those before me. The research and writings of Aimee Wall and the North Carolina General Assembly website are the only two sources I have to go on. Aimee Wall has been a member of the UNC School of Government since 2011 and has written many articles on this subject across our state. If you would like to read more about her, click her photo to the right to see her bio.

I’m going to quote some of her writings in this article in their entirety because I want to save you the hassle of jumping around the Internet and getting lost going back and forth.

What is the proposed change?

Two members of our Board of County Commissioners (which I  will shorten to BOCC for the sake of brevity) are pushing for a change to the way our county’s boards of health and social services are structured.

Who are the two commissioners pushing for the change?
Answer:  I don’t know yet. I’m working to find out.

What is the proposed change?
Answer: Well, see, here is where we get lost in the weeds. Let me explain.

Back story: House Bill 438

House Bill 438 was introduced to the NC General Assembly in 2011 and ratified on June 29, 2012. This bill grants counties the ability to change, if they choose to do so, how some of their governing boards are structured and how they are organized.  If you’d like to read the bill itself, you can click the PDF link icon to open it in a new browser, but it’s not overly important to the issue at hand. It’s just the document that allowed this kind of change to occur.

Specific Changes to Stanly County

The specific changes to Stanly County would involve the dissolution of the Board of Health and the Board of Social Services. Both boards would be disbanded and a new Consolidated Human Services Agency (which I will refer to as CHSA going forward) will be created.

What does this mean?

Well, NC Statute 130A-35 clearly defines what has to be included on a board of health. They are as follows:

  • 1 pharmacist
  • 1 registered engineer with experience in sanitary engineering or a soil scientist
  • 1 veterinarian
  • 1 optometrist
  • 1 dentist
  • 1 registered nurse
  • 1 county commissioner
  • 1 physician
  • 3 members of the community representative of the general public.

With regards to the board governing social services, that’s covered under NC General Statute 108A.

  • it can be a 3 or 5 member board, depending on the county’s preference
  • 1 has to be a standard citizen or a county commissioner
  • 1 has to be appointed by the Social Services Commission
  • those two members appoint the third member.
  • on a five member board except there are 1 commissioners/citizens and 2 appointed by the Social Services Commission

So that’s what makes up our current board as it sits today. It’s mandated  by the governor’s office via General Statute.

What happens if we change?

Here where I’ll save you the jumping around. I’m going to quote an article by Aimee Wall with regards to what changes are possible. If you want to view the full article, you can click here. There are three possible scenarios our BOCC could choose to implement. They are conveniently referred to as options 1, 2, and 3 respectively. I’m going to lay them out for you here the same way Aimee Wall laid them out.

Option One

Organization: Under this option, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) does not change the 
overall organization of the agency or agencies involved.
Governance: The BOCC directly assumes the powers and duties of one or more of the governing boards 
responsible for overseeing a local human services agency (i.e., local board of health and/or county board 
of social services).
Counties electing: One county (Columbus) has elected this option. The BOCC abolished the county 
board of social services and assumed its powers and duties.

Option Two

Organization: The BOCC creates a new agency called a consolidated human services agency (CHSA)
 by combining two or more county human services agencies. The term “human services” is undefined 
in the law. Most of the discussion has focused on local health departments and departments of social
 services, but other departments and agencies may also be involved (such as local agencies focused on
 veterans, aging populations, or transportation). Note that local management entities (LMEs) involved
 with mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities services may not be included in 
these new CHSAs (with the exception of the CHSA serving Mecklenburg county).
Governance: The BOCC appoints a new consolidated human services board that serves as the CHSA’s 
governing board.
Counties electing: Four counties have elected this option (Buncombe, Edgecombe, Union, and Wake). 
Wake elected this option many years ago when the option was available only to counties with large
 populations.


Option Three

Organization: The BOCC creates a new agency called a consolidated human services agency 
(CHSA) by combining two or more human services agencies.
Governance: The BOCC becomes the governing board when it directly assumes the powers 
and duties of the consolidated human services board.
Counties electing: Five counties have elected this option (Bladen, Brunswick, Mecklenburg, 
Montgomery, and Yadkin). Mecklenburg adopted Option One many years ago but transitioned
 to Option Three in 2008.

I had a phone call with the County Manager Andy Lucas today with regards to a few questions.  I’m not going to quote him on anything because there’s no need for me to accidentally put words in someone else’s mouth. I’d also like to thank him for taking the time to return my call and enlighten me on some of the matters I had questions about. Mostly he confirmed what my research had already told me, so at least I know I have the correct basic understanding of what’s going on.

My biggest issue was (and still is) this:

There are three main options for how our BOCC could choose to implement these changes. Each of them is vastly different. Which option is our BOCC wanting to implement? His answer was pretty straight-forward and in sync with that I’ve heard elsewhere. He said all the discussions he’s been privy to and discussed have been related to Option 2.

Let’s recap the options above in simple terms as they would apply to our county:

Option 1 – The BOCC doesn’t change anything but has the power to take over the Board of Health, Board of Social Services, etc. Bad idea. These boards are comprised of individuals within professional fields, or mostly thereof anyway, for the purpose of making informed decisions. That’s why the Board of Health has over 50% of its membership comprised of practicing medical professionals from a variety of fields. County Commissioners have none of this education and shouldn’t be making these decisions. They’re not qualified. Neither am I.

Option 2– We do away with the BOH and BOSS and they are replaced with a larger board called a CHSA. Ok, well what does that mean? Thankfully the requirements for forming a CHSA are also codified in general statute (there are laws that say who has to be on the board.)  The specific legal document is North Carolina Government Statute 153A-77. Click the PDF on the right to read the legislation if you want to, but I’ll give you the relevant parts below.

§ 153A-77 section c, subsections 1-5 state that the board shall include:

  • 8 persons who are consumers of human services, public advocates, or family members of clients of the consolidated human services agency, including: one person with mental illness, one person with a developmental disability, one person in recovery from substance abuse, one family member of a person with mental illness, one family member of a person with a developmental disability, one family member of a person with a substance abuse problem, and two consumers of other human services.
  • Notwithstanding subdivision (1) of this subsection, a consolidated human services board not exercising powers and duties of an area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services board shall include four persons who are consumers of human services.  (I’m not sure if our board would fall under this or not because I’m not 100% clear on their intended direction.)
  • 8 professionals including
    • 1 psychologist
    • 1 pharmacist
    • 1 engineer
    • 1 dentist
    • 1 optometrist
    • 1 veterinarian
    • 1 social worker
    • 1 registered nurse
    • 1 member of the board of county commissioners.
    • other persons, including members of the general public, representing various occupations.
  • A member CAN fill more than one role if they are qualified for both. ( Does that mean an engineer can also be a “member of the general public”? I’m not sure. If so, you could fill any number of slots that way by duplicating seats on the board, though I can’t imagine they’d try that with more than one or two seats, if at all.)

Who appoints these people? Does the BOCC just staff the board with whomever they want?

  • According to the legislation, no. A chairperson for the board has to be selected by the board itself, not appointed by the commissioners. Good!
  • the initial board has to be nominated by the previous boards of health and social services.  So the existing boards today get to choose whom the commissioners can pick their board from. It would seem to me that some or all of the existing board members would transfer over.
  • After the initial board has been created, with staggered terms so as not to rotate the board out in one year, the board shall be appointed by the board of commissioners from nominees presented by the CHSA board.

From what I understand of that legislation, aside from having a larger board comprised of both departments, I’m not sure how things are different than they are now with the possible exception of accountability to the office of County Manager, which is something I need further research on.

Changes to Judicial Powers of the Board of Health

If we assume that the NCGS 153A-77 is to be the guidelines under with the CHSA operates, then I’d have to assume page 3 clarifies the judicial appeal powers as well. It states “Except as otherwise provided, the consolidated human services board shall have the powers and duties conferred by law upon a board of health, a social services board…”

The judicial power of the BOH extends so far as appealing decisions that fall under its purview. If an ordinance says a person must do A, B, and C, that person can appeal to the Board of Health (as long as it’s a related issue) at a meeting and the board can vote to relieve that particular injunction, ruling, etc if they are so inclined. I can’t see here where that changes, but I’d like to know for sure either way.

Legislatively the BOH didn’t have any real power to create ordinances anyway. They can suggest them to the county commissioners, who can then choose to adopt them, but they didn’t have any powers to craft health-related rules on their own. That wouldn’t change.

Word from the County on the matter

The Stanly County government website has a link on their news section related to the proposed consolidation. If you’d like to read more about it, though I find it woefully vague on content, you can access it by clicking here.

I don’t personally find the FAQ they offer to be very enlightening because it doesn’t actually lay out a plan for what they want to do. It only provides vague generalities about the reasons for the change; all wrapped in a positive light, which clearly leads the reader to believe it’s an all-around good choice and we should just accept it.

I personally don’t. If you want to change something as a government entity, you owe it to me to explain the following:

  • What EXACTLY (not in any vague terms) are you changing? Detail every single item.
  • Why is it being changed? What was the impetus to cause it to be changed? What facts do you have to support it should be changed?
  • What will the cost be of the change, both in terms of finances +/- the county budget and in terms of lost/gained employment positions within the county.

Having said that, I’ll repost the county’s FAQ and add my own commentary below.

Consolidated Human Services Agencies Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a consolidated human services agency (CHSA)?|
    A consolidated human services agency (CHSA) is a single-county agency that provides any
    combination of local public health services, social services, Medicaid transportation services,
    veteran services or aging services. A county that creates a CHSA may direct the agency to assume
    responsibility for multiple human service functions in the county.REBUTTAL: That’s great. We have the book definition of a CHSA. What is Stanly County specifically asking to do? Are they consolidating the BOH and BOSS only? Are they going to include Medicaid transportation services in this new organization? What other powers are being pulled from other agencies or shuffled around to this new agency? I think we deserve specific answers. Surely no one could have brought this up and gotten this far without putting together a cost-analysis to the county as well as a risk-analysis and feasibility study showing projected impact on the county for 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, etc… Where is this information that we should use to form our opinions on whether to support it or not? The words “may” should not appear in this document. Either you DO or DO NOT plan to do something. 
  2. Are there any CHSAs in other North Carolina counties?
    Yes, a total of twenty-two (22) counties have created CHSAs. In fact, many counties in the immediate region have CHSAs. These include, Montgomery, Richmond, Union, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg and Gaston. Another eight (8) counties have altered the governance of DSS and Health Department functions by placing one or both agencies under the governance of the Board of County Commissioners.REBUTTAL: So one in five counties in NC have adopted this policy. It’s been around since 2012, so that’s half a decade. In the five years, four out of five counties have NOT chosen to go down this path. That’s more important to me than the fact that 20% of the state DID choose to do so. 
    From the counties that have implemented this policy; where is the information on their success or failure? Has it achieved the things they wanted it to do? Has it resulted in a net increase or decrease in county revenues and expenses? Our county is arguing that it can save money by allowing bulk purchasing, an argument I find really weak personally, but has that manifested itself to be true elsewhere? What is the cost/efficiency savings considering the huge tumult it would wreak in the short term? Let’s say it cost XX dollars in the short term and resulted in a net decrease in efficiency of YY percent this first 24 months it was put into effect. Has anyone that switched to this policy seen a gain yet from the initial headache? If so, that information I would think would be readily shared. The fact that its not makes me doubt its existence.
  3. What are the potential benefits of a consolidated human services agency (CHSA)?
    There are several potential benefits associated with consolidation. These include, improved service delivery given the ability carryout services and programs using a multi-disciplinary approach, a unified personnel system for all county personnel, operational efficiency and potential reduction of human service spending, collaborative training opportunities, revenue enhancement and more.REBUTTAL: I’m sorry. What? I have no idea what that first benefit even means. The sentence doesn’t make sense. But let’s carry on. A unified personnel system for all county personnel? Don’t we already have that? Are the BOH and BOSS the only two rogue elements of the county that somehow aren’t under the auspices of the county’s personnel programs?Operational Efficiency: Are we lacking in that? I know one of the commissioners themselves said that they have first hand knowledge of a neighboring county that implemented this program that saw absolutely zero efficiency gains. 
    I have a fundamental disagreement with this idea. Let me tell you why. You read earlier about the fact that we have a 11 member board comprised of very specific roles in our board of health. At least six of the eleven members are directly related to health and medical fields. That makes sense, right? It’s a board of Health, so it would be sensible to stack the board in such a manner that a quorum of 7 is required to pass a vote. (That’s what we have now.) 51% of our board need to agree on something related to health for it to pass. The board is 50% health-related fields. That totally makes sense to me.Now, if we move to this CHSA board, we’re talking up to a 25 member board per the NCGS regulations. The medical makeup of that board didn’t change. They just added more non-medical personnel. So on issues that would have previously been relegated to the board of health, but are not relegated to the CHSA for decision-making, you now have the same six medical personnel against potentially 19 other members with absolutely zero medical experience or knowledge, yet you still require only 51% for quorum. You’ve diluted the medical and health-related membership of a board primarily designed to deal with medical and public health related issues. That boggles my mind.
  4. What happens to the independent Board of Health and DSS Board when a CHSA is formed?
    The DSS Board and the Board of Health are both dissolved and a Consolidated Human Services Board is appointed based on the nominations of the current DSS and Health Department Boards.REBUTTAL: That’s only the case if the board were to choose Option Two or Option Three, which we have no proof that they are at this time. And those two discinctions are huge ones. If they were to choose option three, the BOCC has the authority to basically directly assume the responsibilities of the CHSA. That means the CHSA has no fangs whatsoever. The BOCC can simply override any suggestion from the professionals and do whatever the hell that group of dumb farmers wants to do. That’s a little scary.
  5. Who serves on a consolidated human services board?
    A consolidated human services board may have up to 25 members, appointed by the county commissioners. State law specifies that the board must include
    Certain professional occupations, including a psychologist, a pharmacist, an engineer, a dentist, an optometrist, a veterinarian, a social worker, a registered nurse.. blah blah.  It’s the same as I mentioned above.REBUTTAL: Ok, but the distinction here is in the description here. They left out the requirement that the board be selected from nominees on the existing board or CHSA at that time. The phrase “appointed by county commissioners” and the words “selected by county commissioners from nominees selected by the CHSA” are two glaring distinctions. I know what the law says because I read it myself, but everyone will. That needs clarification.
  6. What are the powers and duties of a consolidated human services board?
    Below please find a summary of the primary powers and duties as prescribed by NC General Statutes:

    1. Set fees for services based on recommendations of the human services director. Any fees related to public health services are subject to restrictions on the amount and scope that would apply if the fees were set by a local board of health.
    2. Assure compliance with laws related to state and federal programs administered by the CHSA.
    3. Recommend creation of local human services programs.
    4. Adopt local health rules and participate in appeals related to enforcement of those rules.
    5. Perform regulatory health functions required by state law.
    6. Act as coordinator or agent of the state when required by state or federal law.
    7. Plan and recommend a consolidated human services budget.
    8. Conduct audits and reviews of human services programs.
    9. Advise local officials through the county manager.
    10. Perform public relations and advocacy functions.
    11. Protect the public health to the extent required by law.
    12. Develop certain types of dispute resolution procedures for contractors, clients and public advocates.
    13. The consolidated human services board also has most of the powers and duties of a local board of
      health, including the following:

      1. Adopt local public health rules
      2. Impose fees for local public health services with the approval of the County Commissioners (except when state law prohibits local fees)
      3. Adjudicate disputes about local health rules or the local imposition of administrative penalties (fines) for violations of public health laws
        REBUTTAL:  I really don’t have much to offer on this one because I’m not 100% sure yet if this differs from the current boards we have and there’s now easy way to know without researching each individual board’s powers exhaustively.
  7. What personnel policies apply to employees of the CHSA?
    Employees of consolidated human services agencies are subject to a county’s personnel resolution or personnel policies. Due to the fact that a consolidated agency administers certain federal social services programs, the policies/resolution must address and meet federal requirements for a merit based personnel system.
    REBUTTAL: None needed. Stanly County already has a SPA-style program in place that  does the same thing so it’s not an issue. Basically what this policy means is that there has to be a policy in place that encourages promoting of individuals who deserve it, handles training for individuals who fail to perform properly, and has will remove those that can’t do their job. It’s basically a merit-based promotion system and we already have one at the county level for other county employees so we don’t have to worry about adopting a new one.

Issues not addressed

My wife brought up a few interesting ideas when I was brainstorming this article. Keep in mind I’m not fully behind either supporting it or bashing it yet. I just think its current form asks for permission to make changes without explaining what, when, and why. Its just like my kids coming up to me when they’re six years old and saying “Dad, can I have $20?” I ask “what for honey?”

“Just cause. You’ll like it. I promise Dad.”

Does the parent in you just scream out warning klaxons when things like that happen?

Jobs  and Finances

There’s no way a policy like this that affects the boards wouldn’t trickle down to the county staffing as well. The Board members aren’t paid positions anyway, though some can receive a small stipend. It’s so small its not worth mentioning. The county employees however would have to be affected. If we are doing away with the governing bodies for the board of health and the DSS, it seems to me that we’d be replacing the administrative structure that runs the two departments as well or at the very least downsizing it to reduce redundancy. How many people Stanly County employees will lose jobs as a result of this change? How will that change affect the county? I’m a hard-core realist in that I believe there’s no sense in paying two people to do a job that can be done by one. Fire one of them and move on. At least I’m up-front about it. I haven’t seen anything that relates to costs in either financials gains to the county or employment changes to county offices. I think that information should be required to be included before we can seriously discuss whether we as a county want to make this move.

Who is for and against the change?

I guess this deserves to be known as well. Between the article the SNAP Online wrote about this back in March and what I’ve gleaned myself over the last 48 hours, here is what I know.

Stanly County Department of Social Services – Against the change.
Stanly County Board of Health -Against the Change
Bernetta Maske – DSS Chairwoman – Publicly against the change.
Larry Faulkner – Board of Health Chairman – Publicly against the change.
County Manager Andy Lucas – was quoted as saying “We’re a pretty efficient organization already. We’re pretty lean.”
Jann Lowder – Chairman of Economic Development Commission and Board of Health Member – Against the change.
Gene McIntyre – Board of Social Services member – Against the change.

My Email to the County Commissioners

Earlier today I sent an email to the entire board of county commissioners requesting some clarification on a couple questions. No answer as of this time.

Note to readers

I have endeavored to create this article in a manner that is informative, allows you and even encourages you to want to find out more for yourself, and hopefully in a manner that isn’t overly biased. I personally am leaning towards being against the change, simply because I don’t like it when ANY government agency changes things without very good reason. When they DO make a change, I think we deserve to see concrete evidence and a mountain of it, explaining why the change is necessary and how it is in our best interest. I feel none of that has been done here.

I urge you to reach out to the county commissioners yourselves before the public hearing to ask your own questions, reach your own conclusions, and be sure your voice is heard. You can’t make big changes in this world if you aren’t willing to get involved in the little ones. That’s how things change without us noticing until it’s too late.

I hope I haven’t bored you completely to death! Feel free to comment in the comment section below or on Facebook.


Addendum: Response from County Commissioners – posted July 17, 2017 2036 EST.

To be fair and transparent, I feel I should share the email I sent to the county commissioners along with their responses. The email in its entirety is as follows:

Good afternoon commissioners,
I’m emailing this to all seven local commissioners because I feel we need feedback from each of you on this matter.  The issue I’m writing about is the proposed 
changes to the Board of Health and Board of Social Services being discussed at the August public hearing.
 
From what I have read, two of the current BOCC are pushing for this new change, two are against, and two are undecided. I can’t verify the accuracy of that 100% 
so I wanted to reach out to each of you directly to ask. I’ve only got a few questions. 
 
Question 1:
From each of the seven members of the BOCC: Are you for or against the proposed changes that would result in the consolidation of the Board of Health and 
the Board of Social Services?
 
Question 2: 
If you are supporting the change, what are the proposed reasons we need this change in our county? The general consensus from what I’ve gleaned so far 
is that our two boards work well together now on matters and that both handle their respective duties well. Combining these boards into something akin
to a 20+ member panel would, to my imagination, only slow deliberations on processes that are already slow enough as it is.
 
Question3: 
Throughout North Carolina, since the 2012 law was enacted making this possible, there have been only three major options with regard to the way the 
county’s boards would be governed following this change. For clarity, those are listed below as option 1, option2, and option 3.
 
     Option One
Organization: Under this option, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) does not change the overall organization of the agency or agencies involved.
Governance: The BOCC directly assumes the powers and duties of one or more of the governing boards responsible for overseeing a local human services 
agency (i.e., local board of health and/or county board of social services).
      Option Two
Organization: The BOCC creates a new agency called a consolidated human services agency (CHSA) by combining two or more county human services 
agencies. The term “human services” is undefined in the law. Most of the discussion has focused on local health departments and departments of social 
services, but other departments and agencies may also be involved (such as local agencies focused on veterans, aging populations, or transportation). 
Note that local management entities (LMEs) involved with mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities services may not be included 
in these new CHSAs (with the exception of the CHSA serving Mecklenburg county).
Governance: The BOCC appoints a new consolidated human services board that serves as the CHSA’s governing board.
     Option Three
Organization: The BOCC creates a new agency called a consolidated human services agency (CHSA) by combining two or more human services agencies.
Governance: The BOCC becomes the governing board when it directly assumes the powers and duties of the consolidated human services board.
 
Which of these are you proposing we adopt? No one seems clear on which governance method is being proposed.
 
I think clarity in the matter of how the board is proposed to be organized and governed before the public review hearing would greatly increase the public’s 
understanding of what our BOCC is trying to do and why.
 
I know each of you are busy people, but I would appreciate some response from you in whatever format you feel most comfortable. I’d gladly discuss this 
over the phone if that’s your preference, or of course email is always fine as well.
 
Have a great rest of your week. 

 Responses from the Commissioners:

I’ll list the responses from the commissioners in the order I received them.

Gene McIntyre:

Q 1
Waiting for more information before deciding.
Q 2
Depends on the information gathered.
Q 3
If we change, option 2.
Thank you for your interest.

Joseph Burleson

Mr. Jordan, Thank you for the email. I am at the beach with my family this week but plan to be in touch with you when I'm back in the office on Monday.

 I apologize it has taken so long to reply but I've been checking email only once or twice per day. Hope you are well. Talk soon,

Matthew Swain

Commissioner Swain took time to answer in depth but he answered my questions inline, which was perfect, but is hard to post here without reposting the entire thread. I’ve shortened the response to only include his answers.

Question 1

Yes

Question 2

Currently the boards, directors, and their respective departmental employees operate independently.  Meaning the county is responsible and holds liability for their actions 
but has no ability to control the policies which governs their employment.  I share your concern about the larger board being cumbersome to navigate when their are time 
sensitive issues.  My response to that, is an issue that the combined board could handle by creating committees and granting them the power to act.  That would however 
be an issue to be addressed in the new bylaws that the board would have to create.  My personal thought would be to make the board on the minimum side of 15 members 
rather than 25 members.

Question 3

The only option I would support is Option 2 as you have them listed above. I say this because this is the only clear option that doesn't make the BoCC the governing body. 
I am not a health expert and believe that a board made of of such people would be best suited to govern issues with those departments. I do not see this as a way to save 
money for our county, and won't support any positions being eliminated, unless the new board and department leadership see fit. However it does satisfy the liability
 issues that could arise by giving the county manager oversight authority which could help. This option may generate some efficiency, but I feel like those will be realized 
over several years. My personal opinion would also be to realize any savings to the benefit of the departments themselves. (i.e. reinvest or reallocate to improve)

Bill Lawhon

Commissioner Lawhon’s answer to me seemed a little political. I don’t know the man, but I’ll let you read for yourself.

Mr. Jordan,
On August 7th at 7:00 p.m. the Stanly County Commissioners will hold a public hearing about this proposed merger. Let me encourage you to attend and speak 
either for or against this proposed merger.

Thanks,
Bill Lawhon
Chairman of the Stanly County Commission

I’m sorry. Did he fail to read the part where people are trying to get answers BEFORE the public hearing so we can actually be educated before-hand and not waste the committee’s time on the night of the event? Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but to me that answer seemed to say “This was my idea. I’m the one that pushed for it and I’m not going to answer any questions in advance because I don’t have to.” Not feeling the love on that one…

I don’t have any further information on the issue at this time except that I have a call in to Aimee Wall was was kind enough to call me back but I missed her call. I’m supposed to try to reach her again tomorrow during business hours so I’ll update you if I find out more.

 

My analysis of responses thus far:

The only in-depth answer I’ve received so far is from Commissioner Swain. Here’s my thoughts on that.

The statute says the board shall be composed of no more than 25 members. (§ 153A-77.(c)).  That seems to make sense.

But immediately following are subsections 1-4 which seem to mandate the following:

  • Item 1 – 8 consumers of human services, public advocated, or……
  • Item 1(b) – This says you can have only 4 of the aforementioned as long as it isn’t an mental health board. Is ours going to be?
  • Item 2 – 8 persons in various fields, mostly medical.
  • Item 3 – Two physicians
  • Item 4 – One member of the BoCC
  • Item 5 – an unlisted number of other persons from various occupations.

Commissioner Swain is leaning towards the smaller board, which would too. But I’m unsure where his number of 15 as a minimum comes from. I’ve done the best I can to do the math and come up with the following. All of this information is based on NCGS 153A-77. The relevant information is on the bottom of page 1 and top of page 2 of that article.

In trying to get down to a 15 member board, I’m assuming the following:

  • We adhere to Item 1B meaning we only need 4 from Item 1 – so that’s four people who are either direct consumers of human services or related to those who do.
  • we have to have 8 from item 2. No wiggle room there.
  • Item 3 could overlap with staffing from item 2 with the medical field since it requires a physician, but still requires 1 psychiatrist not required as part of Item 2
  • Item 4 is one of our commissioners
  • We completely get rid of members of the general public on this board or at the very least only have one of them.

That leaves us with a board comprised of the following:

  • 1 person “related” to someone with mental illness – (Required)
  • 1 person “related” to someone with a developmental disability- (Required)
  • 1 person “related” to someone in recovery from substance abuse. – (Required)
  • 1 person “related” to someone with mental illness – (Required)
  • 1 person with a developmental disability- (Optional)
  • 1 person with a substance abuse problem – (Optional)
  • 2 general consumers of other human services – (Optional)
  • (any four of the above can be removed, so assume only four of them will be included. I just marked the last 4 optional for the sake of this article.)
    That puts us at a required total of 4 so far as long as this board is not exercising powers and duties of an area mental health, developmental disabilities, or substance abuse board – which I assume we are not doing.
  • 1 psychologist
  • 1 pharmacist
  • 1 engineer
  • 1 dentist
  • 1 optometrist
  • 1 veterinarian
  • 1 social worker
  • 1 registered nurse
  • 1 general physician
  • 1 psychiatrist
  • 1 commissioner
  • any number of general public necessary to get the board up to 25 if they choose to go that high.

That means, in order to get to 15 members as mentioned it is most likely the BoCC would choose to remove all members of the general public (since we don’t need them to reach 15 members and the others are required by statute.)

So basically, the general public would go unrepresented on the new board?

Thoughts? Comments?

 

 


2 thoughts on “Stanly County Board of Commissioners Proposes Change – Why?

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