DSS board thanks retiring director for service

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 1, 2012

By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — As Rowan County’s new social services director looked on from the audience, former director Sandra Wilkes took part in her last board meeting Monday.
Board Chairwoman Lillian Morgan called the meeting “bittersweet.”
Ruth Kennerly, a board member, thanked Wilkes for her sacrifices to help bring “a ray of sunlight” to people going through dark times.
“I wish I could name this building the Sandra Wilkes building,” Kennerly said. “What you’ve done is not something that will be forgotten.”
When the board asked if Wilkes had anything to say, she smiled sheepishly and answered, “I’d like for this to be the shortest meeting in history.”
Morgan apologized for not obeying her wish, “but we would be remiss today if we did not acknowledge all you’ve done for Rowan County and the commitment you’ve had.”
Wilkes retired in October after more than a decade as director, and she has been serving as the interim during the five-month search for a new department head.
Part of the evening’s business was to review plans for the orientation of Donna Fayko and a reception to honor her this afternoon.
Fayko officially begins as director today, leaving her position as deputy director of the Mecklenburg County DSS Youth and Family Services. The social services board named her as director two weeks ago.
“As we welcome Donna Fayko to Rowan County, I’m sure she will continue the torch that you have kept going,” Kennerly said to Wilkes.
Kennerly’s first term expires June 30, and she is eligible for reappointment. The board approved a process Monday for appointing the next member.
Two of the board’s five members are appointed by the N.C. Social Services Commission, two more are appointed by the Rowan County Board of Commissioners and one is appointed by a majority of the Board of Social Services.
The board directed staff to advertise the position online and in the Salisbury Post, take applications through early June and submit them to the board. The board will vote on the appointment — or reappointment — at its June 26 meeting.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
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