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February 20, 2013

First official Human Services meeting held

TARBORO — The Edgecombe County Human Services Board elected Larry Woodley as the chairman and Robin Corbett as the vice chairman during its first official meeting Tuesday night in the new Edgecombe County Human Services Building.

Woodley did not draw opposition, while Corbett was challenged by Florence Arnold Armstrong, who was also nominated. Through a paper ballot, the board elected Corbett. A vote tally was not revealed.

Coincidentally, Woodley chaired the Department of Social Services board and Corbett was the chair of the Health Department Board.

“Being the first is monumental,” Woodley said. “It is a great task and I look forward to everybody working together and being cohesive with both the health department and DSS. I feel like Edgecombe County is moving in the right direction.

“I didn’t ask for it. I thank the people who trusted in me. Maybe they see something that I haven’t seen yet. I’m going to work as hard as I can to make sure the citizens of Edgecombe County get what they deserve.”

The newly formed board was organized by the county commissioners, which allowed the Department of Social Service (DSS) and the Health Department to operate under one board. Twenty board members currently makes up the Human Services Board with the room to add another five.

“Edgecombe County has about 56,000 people who we are responsible for improving the quality of life for those peoples,” said Edgecombe County Manager Lorenzo Carmon. “I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for agreeing to serve on this board. I think you guys get about $35 a meeting to try make things happen for the citizens, so I know you are not doing it for the money.”

According to the Human Service Board bylaws, the board will meet quarterly. However, because of the board is in an infancy stage, Human Service Director Eric Evans recommended the board meet once a month for at least three months. Evans, who is also Edgecombe County assistant manager, was apparently pleased with the first meeting and the boards selection of chairman and vice chairman.

“I think it is good for the board because you’ve got some experienced leadership from the two previous boards,” he said. “I had opportunity to work with both of them in their previous roles. I’m looking forward to working with them in their new roles.”

The board’s first business was a unanimous vote to approve the health department fees schedule. Health Director Karen Lachapele told the board that the health department can no longer afford to give free immunizations because the state is now charging for them. She suggested a fee to cover the cost. The board unanimously approve the fee schedule. Now, the issue will be passed to the county commissioners for its approval.   

“The first meeting went well as to be expected,” Evans said. “We covered right much ground tonight.”

The board also approved adding a public comment session to the meetings. The approval came after the Rev. Roosevelt Higgs asked to be heard.

Higgs suggested that the board look to fill the other positions with Hispanics. The makeup of the board is 12 blacks and nine whites.

During the meeting, DSS Director Marva Scott  and health department director Karen Lachapele gave an overview and goals of their respective departments. The meeting was the first for Scott since she was fired more than a year ago. Just recently, a court order reinstated Scott.

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