LAURINBURG — Four-County Community Services is set to announce a permanent replacement for former executive director Richard Greene, who was fired last March by the organization’s board of directors last year following a state audit reflecting the agency’s mismanagement of $75,000 in 2012.
Jason King, chairman of the Four-County board of directors, said that the board expects to release the name of the new executive director in mid-January. The new director was selected from about 60 applicants, eight of whom were interviewed. King said that “applicable experience, enthusiasm for the organization, and demonstrated leadership ability,” were among the qualities sought in a candidate.
Four-County, based in Laurinburg, receives some $21 million annually through state and federal grants to operate 16 Head Start programs and administer housing assistance programs in Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Hoke, Pender, Robeson and Scotland counties.
The announcement will be the second since Greene was let go, as then-board chairman Jimmy Cummings named Kim Clark permanent executive director in June. Clark had served as Four-County’s deputy director under Greene and took over as interim director after his firing.
Clark’s appointment, however, proved premature, as an Aug. 5 letter from the federal Department of Health and Human Services stating that her appointment had not been approved by its regional office in Atlanta put an end to her tenure as director.
In September, Delilah Blanks, who was then serving as Four-County’s interim board chairman, told the Laurinburg Exchange that Clark’s name was never submitted by Cummings to DHHS.
“By letting them sign off on or approve our recommendation, they’re looking at all the candidates that we interview,” said King. “We have to show that we used the same interview questions and education and experience that were compatible amongst the finalists that interviewed.”
Cummings has since resigned from the agency’s board of directors. King, Robeson County’s assistant county manager, came on to the Four-County board in April.
In bringing on a new executive director, King said that Four-County hopes to reaffirm its commitment “to be compliant with federal and state regulators, to serve all of our clients’ best interests, and to be fiscally responsible in our day-to-day operation.”