ELIZABETHTOWN — After only about two years on the job as the county’s Health and Human Services director, Cris Harrelson informed the Bladen County Board of Commissioners that he will soon be leaving his position.
Harrelson told the board last week that he has accepted the position as health director for the Brunswick County Health Department. His last day in Bladen County will be Friday, Oct. 9.
“I want to thank the board for all of their support,” Harrelson told commissioners last week.
Bladen County Commissioner Chairman Charles Ray Peterson said, “We thank you for a job well done in Bladen County.”
“It is certainly a loss for Bladen County. He has done an outstanding job during his years as Health and Human Services director,” added Bladen County Manager Greg Martin
Harrelson served as HHS director for about two years. Martin said Harrelson was hired shortly after the county commissioners decided to combine the health department and social services department and create a county Health and Human Services Department.
“He was instrumental in helping in development of the combined agency,” said Martin.
He added the county will begin to advertise the vacancy in the near future. Martin said that once the application period closes an interview panel, which will include some members of the Health and Human Services Advisory Board, will meet and begin interviewing potential candidates. Martin anticipated the entire process would take a few months to complete.
Martin said that the hiring of an interim director hasn’t been determined yet.
“We hope for the process to go as quickly as it can,” said Martin of hiring a new director.
On Wednesday, Brunswick County officials announced Harrelson’s hiring.
Brunswick County Health and Human Services Executive Director David Stanley told WECT, “Cris will be a tremendous addition to our team. He has a strong public health background working for both local and state government and has a track record of being an innovator and collaborative decision maker. Cris has pledged to safeguard the public health through visionary leadership, risk assessment, preventative programs, and effective education.”
Harrelson will officially begin his duties in Brunswick County on Oct. 12.
—Erin Smith can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.