DSS board splits on new member
By Kathy Chaffin
Rowan County Superior Court Judge John L. Holshouser will decide who replaces Dr. Nilous Avery on the Rowan County Board of Social Services.
The other four members of the board reached a tie at their Tuesday night meeting, two voting for Shannon Jeanette Morris Clark and two for Ruth Chaparro Kennerly.
North Carolina general statutes call for the resident superior court judge to appoint the fifth member of the board if a majority of the deciding board members cannot agree on an appointment.
When county social services boards have five members, which is the case in Rowan, two are appointed by the county board of commissioners and two by the N.C. Social Services Commission. Those four then vote on the fifth member.
Avery, who is chairman of the board, has served the maximum two consecutive three-year terms, but would be eligible to serve again once he has been off the board for a year.
Carl Ford, who is vice chairman of the board, and Jim Sides voted for Morris Clark, a media assistant in the Rowan-Salisbury School System.
Morris Clark, 43, of Acorn Oaks Drive has volunteered at Bostian Elementary and continues to volunteer at Southeast Middle School. She served as PTA treasurer for Southeast Middle during the 2007-2008 school year.
She wrote on her application, “I feel my common sense approach to parenting would be beneficial to the Rowan County Department of Social Services. From a very young age, I was taught to accept responsibility for my actions and contribute to society …
“I would like to serve on the board of social services to re-acclimate myself into community service while providing a sound opinion.”
Board members John Blair and Lillian Morgan voted for Chaparro Kennerly, who is a human resource analyst for the city of Salisbury.
Chaparro Kennerly, 35, of Mill Wheel Drive has served on boards and volunteered for Waterworks Visual Art Center, the Ethics Committee-Hospital Client Rights, Rowan County United Way, Relay for Life of Rowan County and the March of Dimes.
She wrote on her application: “I would like to support my community as much as I can. I know that I can help communicate information to the community and educate others about the services provided by the county.
“I’m willing to support and assist as much as my schedule allows.”
When Avery asked if board members could come to a consensus on the matter, Sides said he wouldn’t have a problem with either nominee serving. “I made a prior commitment to support this individual,” he said of Morris Clark, “and I feel obligated to do that.”
None of the other three board members made any comments about their votes.
Ford said, “This is when we need that fifth vote to be the tie-breaker …”
Though Avery normally votes, he did not vote on his replacement.
The chairman said he was very impressed with all of the applicants and confident that whoever is selected by the judge will do a good job.
Six Rowan County residents submitted applications to be considered for Avery’s seat. The four others submitting applications were: Clara W. Corry, 73, of Lloyd Street, a retired teacher; Jill A. Hoben, 44, of Trexler Loop, executive director of Saving Grace Farm; Paula L. Hoffman, 38, of Sunset Drive, Section 8 manager for Rowan County Housing Authority and Timothy W. Smith, 51, of Loganberry Lane, director of student services for the Rowan-Salisbury School System.
Sides commented before nominations began on the number and quality of applicants for the seat. Speaking as a former Rowan County commissioner, he said it is usually difficult to find people willing to volunteer to serve on boards.
Ford, as chairman of the county commission, would probably agree with him, Sides said.
To see six high-caliber applicants wanting to serve on the board of social services says a lot for the community and the job that the Department of Social Services does, he said. “We had some great people apply.”
Blair said he felt exactly the same way.
Sides responded, “I wish we had six seats.”
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-7683.