Joint board consolidation is ultimately best for county

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It would have been easy for Brunswick County commissioners to keep the status quo with the county’s board of health and board of social services.
It would have been even easier for some board members to delay making a decision altogether and instead wait until after the November election to let a new county commissioners’ board tackle the problem.
But acting now on the boards’ future was the right decision. It was time for a change. It’s important to remember that just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it.
While it’s normal to expect some bumps along the way, the county is going in the right direction with the dissolution of the Brunswick County Department of Social Services Board and the Brunswick County Board of Health.
We won’t rehash all the things that have gone wrong regarding decisions made by the board of social services. The board’s behavior during the last several years speaks clearly for itself. It has proven, repeatedly, it needs proper guidance and intervention and when left to its own devices mayhem can ensue.
The county’s board of health has been far less controversial. It has proven to be consistent and reliable.
For years the board has effectively made appropriate and tough decisions that impact the overall health and welfare of this community.
But just because it has served its role well doesn’t mean making an operational change is wrong for this board, either.
Remember, the county’s board of health once oversaw the county’s animal services department. Several times the idea of using volunteers at the shelter was discussed and repeatedly it was dismissed. Once the control of that department was taken away from health services, Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram gave the OK for the shelter to call upon the help and talents of volunteers. It has made a big difference in the overall operations.
This is an example of how thinking about things differently—and trying them—can have a positive outcome.
Combining these boards is likely to have long-term positive effects. There are opportunities for administrative consolidation, which hopefully will result in financial savings and streamlining processes. We hope this ultimately makes the services offered to our citizens much more efficient.
And most importantly, the heads of these two departments will be managed in the same way as other county departments. This can hopefully improve relationships and in the end  make for smoother operations for employees and service recipients right here in Brunswick County.