ELIZABETHTOWN — David Howard was introduced Monday as Bladen County’s new Health & Human Services Agency director during the county commissioners’ regular meeting.
Howard, who officially began his duties with the county on May 9, will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day functions of the Health Department, Social Services and the Division of Aging.
“David brings several years of experience in various public health and human services areas — such as administration, preparedness, regional health initiatives and grants management,” said County Manager Greg Martin. We are confident that he is equipped to lead our Health & Human Services employees in providing excellent service to the citizens of Bladen County.”
Howard comes to Bladen County after serving as public health director and home health administrator for Hyde County. He has also worked as executive director at the Cape Fear Clinic, Inc., clinical and addictions research and performance improvement, and medical practice management.
“I’m excited to lead Health & Human Services in Bladen County and am very much looking forward to working with everyone here,” Howard said. “I know the area and many of the people I will have contact with, so I think the transition has and will be a smooth one.”
Howard takes over the position from Cris Harrelson, who resigned in early October 2015.
Howard’s wife Paige is a nursing instructor at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington and they have two children — a son Finn, 15, and daughter Maren, 13.
The commissioners handled a rather lengthy agenda is short order Monday — until it got to the county manager’s segment and were asked to consider two options regarding a residency requirement for department heads.
The board had previously discussed changing the wording on its applications for employment at the May 9 meeting, but tabled the issue and asked Martin to research other counties before bringing the issue back to the board.
On Monday, Martin told the commissioners he had polled area counties and found there was a relatively even split between requiring department heads to be a county resident within one year of employment or having each hire decided by the board.
Commissioner Delilah Blanks made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Michael Cogdell, that the board approve the one-year requirement. But Commissioner Jimmie Smith immediately made a substitute motion, seconded by Commissioner Charles Ray Peterson, for the board to decide on an individual basis.
“Robert’s Rules of Order don’t allow a substitute motion to override the original motion if it completely contradicts that motion,” Blanks said.
“Well, then … let’s vote on your motion,” Peterson responded.
Blanks’ motion was put before the board and failed by a 5-3 vote. Smith’s substitute motion was then put before the board and was approved by a 5-3 vote. Commissioner Daniel Dowless was not present for either vote.
In other board action, the commissioners:
— Recognized third-grader Chandler Bordeaux and sixth-grader Sydney Gardner, each of whom were first-place winners in the N.C. Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts State Poster Contest.
— Presented proclamations for Older Americans Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness Month and EMS Week.
— Approved a resolution to support Cape Fear Valley Health System’s effort to secure funding for the establishment of a residency program for up to 300 residents.
— Scheduled a public hearing on Monday, June 6, for the fiscal year 2016-17 proposed budget.
— Approved the use of the Bladen County Courthouse lawn by Living Springs Church Outreach Ministry on July 16 for a Walk for Christ Service.
— Approved a N.C. Department of Environmental Quality grant agreement with regards to the work being done at Lock & Dam No. 2.
The next meeting of the board will be Monday, June 6, at 6:30 p.m.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.