01/20/14 — Extension officials closer to choosing new agent

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Extension officials closer to choosing new agent

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 20, 2014 1:46 PM

Interviews have been completed as the Wayne County Extension Service moves forward with its search for a new livestock agent.

It will be at least next week before a call will be made to make the job offering, Extension Service Director Kevin Johnson said.

Once the job offer is made, it could be mid-February or March 1 before the new agent would start to work, he said.

"That pushes us close to the Livestock Show (in early April), but we need to be sure we have the right person," Johnson said. "We interviewed four people. We were going to do five, but decided on four.

"We have narrowed it down to two candidates. We are now checking references and backgrounds."

One of the reasons for the number of qualified candidates is because of the job market -- there are a lot of qualified people seeking the jobs, he said.

None of those interviewed were from Wayne County, Johnson said.

Johnson said he has updated Wayne County Commission Chairman Wayne Aycock on the progress of the hiring.

N.C. State officials are handling the background and reference checks.

The county has been without a livestock agent since last May when Eileen Coite left to become Sampson County Extension Service director. Johnson has been handling some of the livestock duties since Ms. Coite's departure.

Earlier in the process, county officials had voiced concerns that the federal sequester, as well as state cuts in the North Carolina university system would mean the job would not be filled.

Wayne County commissioners in November reclassified the job of 4-H program assistant Summer Young to include youth livestock. There was no cost increase associated with the reclassification.

About the same time Johnson was cleared by the university to begin advertising to fill the livestock agent position.