The new executive director of Four-County Community Services said that she will run the non-profit with transparency and accountability.
On Tuesday, Kim Clark was named the permanent executive director by Four-County chairman Jimmy Cummings. Cummings said that there were 31 applicants for the position.
Clark replaces the organization’s former director, Richard Greene, who was fired by the Four-County board in March after a state Department of Health and Human Services audit found that he had misappropriated nearly $75,000.
Clark has served as interim director since Greene was let go.
The Scotland County native has worked with Four-County for 28 years, spending much of that time as assistant director.
“As the new executive director, I am looking forward to leading Four-County to greater heights and greater service,” she said. “This will be accomplished through open communication with our funding sources, our board of directors, and our community partners. Transparency and accountability in our operation will be the true key to our future success.”
Clark said that, despite the issues found in the DHHS audit, Four-County has constantly carried out its mission to serve the low-income, handicapped, and elderly. In the last five years, 5,000 children have participated in the agency’s Head Start programs, and Four-County has distributed funds to weatherize more than 2,000 homes.
Cummings said that Clark has the full support of the Four-County board of directors. He declined to comment on the ongoing investigation of the agency by the Office of the State Auditor.
“We advertised using all media at our disposal and came up with some outstanding, outstanding applicants, which gave me an even better appreciation of Four-County to find out that that caliber of people thought that they wanted to be a part of what we’re doing,” Cummings said.
Four-County’s executive board interviewed five of the applicants, presenting three to the full board at its regular meeting last week: Clark, Four-County chief financial officer Michael Hudson, and Kenneth Bowen, the assistant superintendent of operations in the Washington County school system. The board then voted, with Clark receiving more votes than either of the other two candidates.
Clark said that, of Four-County’s 1,700 low-income clients in the last five years, 10 percent have transitioned out of poverty, saving the public $9 million annually.
“The greatest benefit of the programs that we operate is restoring our families’ sense of pride in their community and in the well-being and investment of their very own families,” said Clark. “Through our programs, we have successfully moved families who were drawing from the system to families who are paying into the system through payroll taxes.”
Based in Laurinburg, Four-County receives $21 million in public grant funds annually to operate 16 Head Start programs and manage weatherization and subsidized housing assistance. The organization serves Scotland, Robeson, Hoke, Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, and Pender counties.