06/16/08 — County names Jones to replace Pelt

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County names Jones to replace Pelt

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 16, 2008 1:45 PM

SNOW HILL -- Debbie Jones of the Shine community in Greene County has been hired as the new director of the Wayne County Dept. of Social Services.

Mrs. Jones, director of the Greene County Social Services Department, is taking over for the retiring Judy Pelt. Her first day on the job will be July 28.

"That will give us a few days together and allow me to be a part of her retirement," Mrs. Jones said. "I want to give the staff time to transition to me."

A native of Greene County, Mrs. Jones was reared in Lenoir County and currently lives in the Shine community northeast of Goldsboro.

She joined the Greene department in 1997 where she has been the director for the past four years.

She joined the workforce after her children reached school age. She also decided to return to college 20 years after attending a community college and was among students in one of the first evening cohort programs offered at Mount Olive College.

She earned her degree in criminal justice and has since gone on to earn her master's degree in psychology.

She started with Greene County as an adult services social worker. She has been a supervisor for child welfare, program supervisor for all adult and child support and child care and welfare.

"The thing about a small agency is that you end up doing it all," she said. "If you walk by a desk and the phone is ringing, you answer it."

The Greene County department has 45 employees. Wayne County's has 194.

"We are, as social services are in Wayne County, the largest department in county government here'" she said. "It will be a big change, but the principles are the same for management and leadership whether you have five or 500 employees."

Experience and contacts gained in Greene County will help her in Wayne County as well, she said.

"One of the great things is that Greene and Wayne counties are part of the same judicial district so I know the key players in the system and they know me," she said. "We have worked together for years. That gives me a bit of an edge."

Being a board member of the Wayne/Wilson/Greene Chapter of the Red Cross is another advantage, she said.

Mrs. Jones is a member of the N.C. Guardianship Association, where she is a registered guardian for adult wards. She is also one of only a handful of people in the state certified as guardians by the National Guardianship Association.

"It is what I feel very strongly about," she said.

"Guardianship is a big issue in the future. We are seeing many veterans coming back with severe head trauma who need guardians. It will just continue to increase with aging baby boomers."

She said she is excited about her new job.

"Change is always challenging. It is difficult to leave, but it is exciting to be looking forward at new challenges. I believe I have a lot to offer Wayne County, and I am looking forward to that. I am looking forward to meeting everyone and one of the first projects I want to do is to get out and meet people."