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Social Services to fill vacancies

By Linwood Outlaw III - loutlaw@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- Warren County officials are taking applications from residents interested in filling two available seats on the Department of Social Services' advisory board.

The panel, which has members representing each of the county's five election districts, advises the county administrator on policy matters and other issues. They also are responsible for monitoring the implementation of social services programs. The advisory board was established soon after the Board of Supervisors voted nearly a year ago to disband the previous DSS board and change it from an administrative body to an advisory one. The county administrator is now responsible for overseeing the agency.

Citizens have until Dec. 20 to submit applications for two open seats on the advisory board for the Fork and Happy Creek districts. Potential candidates must be residents of Warren County.

The Fork and Happy Creek seats are currently held by Forest McDermott and Staige F. Miller Jr., respectively. County Administrator Douglas P. Stanley said both men would be eligible for re-appointment should they decide to seek new terms.

Miller said if Happy Creek District Supervisor Tony F. Carter wants to reappoint him, he would be willing to serve another term on the advisory board. McDermott, however, said he would not be returning to the panel.

Advisory board members serve staggered four-year terms.

However, they cannot serve more than two consecutive terms.

"I think the advisory board has done some good for the county so far. I think that the board of supervisors' intention was to have someone in between Doug [Stanley] and the social services department just to offer suggestions and advice to them," Miller said. "I think this works very well so far."

The advisory board meets at least bimonthly. They usually convene on the third Thursday of the month. Board members are paid $100 per meeting.

The department has undergone several changes since the county assumed control of the agency. Officials are searching for a new director to replace longtime chief Ronald L. King, who resigned at the end of September to take a job as the director of family services for Manassas. Recently, the county appointed Jim Oliver, a retiree with more than 30 years of experience with the Virginia Department of Social Services, as interim director.

Oliver is expected to serve in that capacity at least through January.

Those who wish to be considered for the open slots on the advisory board, meanwhile, may send their applications to the County Government Center at 220 N. Commerce Ave., Suite 100, Front Royal, VA 22630. Applications may be obtained at the government center or through a link on the county's main website at www.warrencountyva.net.

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