01/07/08 — McAuliffe named senior director

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McAuliffe named senior director

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on January 7, 2008 1:54 PM

After serving for nearly a month as interim director of the Wayne County Services on Aging, Eryn McAuliffe was named the new permanent director just days before Christmas.

She is replacing Yvonne McLamb, who retired in early December after nearly three years as director.

Even though the position was advertised and other candidates interviewed, County Manager Lee Smith explained he was pleased to be able to promote internally -- a process he has been working to improve since coming on board himself seven years ago.

"We've put succession plans in place so we have people who are trained, and now you're starting the see benefits of that," he said. "We interviewed some really good people, but she came in heads and shoulders above."

Smith explained that Ms. McAuliffe, who has been working as the in-home aid program supervisor, was chosen because of the direction she wants to take the department, which offers medication management programs, wellness and prevention programs, recreation and educational opportunities and individual and group services to Wayne County's senior citizens.

"It's like OK, we've got the center certified (as a center of excellence), so where do we go from here. She has a vision for that," he said. "The fastest growing population in Wayne County is those over 60."

Ms. McAuliffe, a three-year veteran of the department, explained that as she steps into her new position, she has three basic goals -- beyond the obvious one of securing a new facility for the senior center.

"We would love to have a new center," she said.

Short-term, though, she wants to increase the amount of volunteer help the department receives.

"With state dollars and federal dollars, you have limited budgets, but if we can use volunteer efforts, we can provide more services for the seniors," she said.

In particular, she would like to try to recruit more early retirees to come to work in the center.

If she can accomplish that goal, she continued, her second one is to establish satellite senior centers across the county, particularly between Pikeville and Fremont and between Dudley and Mount Olive.

Currently, the center's Walnut Street home is its only location.

Then, once that's accomplished, Ms. McAuliffe's third goal is to see an adult day health center established in the county.

She explained that such a facility would give seniors of all health and ability levels a place they can go during the day -- and give at-home caregivers a much-needed break.

"That's a longer-term goal. It would be a place seniors could go with a hot meal, an activity coordinator and a certified nurse," she said.

The current facility does not have a medical staff, and so is unable to serve seniors in need of more intensive medical care.

But, even though that third goal may be a few years off, Ms. McAuliffe confident about the direction the department is headed.

"My entire career has been working with the elderly," she said. "I enjoy their life experiences and their perspectives on life. I love helping people and this one good way to do it.

"We definitely have a bright future. The aging population is increasing and I think we need to provide more services and hopefully get more people involved."

Ms. McAuliffe, 49, will earn an annual salary of $44,259.