Last updated: August 24. 2013 1:17AM - 1631 Views
By Keith Strange Staff Reporter

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DOBSON — Five people lost their jobs at the county’s Health and Nutrition Center, and three additional positions have been eliminated, following this week’s action by the Surry County Board of Commissioners.

After a closed session this week, the board voted to eliminate eight positions, five of which were filled at the time, according to Human Resources Officer Sandra Snow.

The five positions include two clerical jobs, the director of nursing, an accounting position and a public information specialist, Snow said.

In addition, three vacant positions will not be filled, including a physician’s assistant, a medical laboratory technician and an environmental health specialist.

Snow said the people weren’t fired because of any work-related issues.

“It wasn’t that the people were let go,” she said. “It’s that the positions were eliminated.”

Due to budget constraints, Snow added, the county board is constantly looking to tighten its belt wherever possible.

“This has been an ongoing thing for the past few years as budgets get tighter and tighter,” she said. “The positions were abolished and the people in the positions were notified Tuesday.”

The affected employees were given a two-week notice, but no severance package “other than normal payouts that would occur with any employee,” Snow said.

“We have told them to contact the Employment Security Commission to determine what their benefits will be,” she added.

Board Chair Eddie Harris confirmed that the move is the result of a shortage in funding.

“Basically, all of that was just getting rid of unnecessary positions,” he said. “It was basic cost-cutting and was purely a budgetary decision that results from our continual effort to reduce and maintain costs.”

A Freedom of Information Request submitted to the department by The Mount Airy News indicates that 30 employees have voluntarily left the department since July 10, 2012.

These include 17 resignations, three retirements and 10 jobs lost as a result of the sale of the department’s home health care division.

Three employees were terminated between July 10 of last year and July 10, 2013, the request indicates. These include two social workers and one processing assistant.

On July 10 last year, the department employed 152 workers.

Today, it employees 119.

Reach Keith Strange at kstrange@civitasmedia.com or 719-1929.

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