Stanly commissioners appoint new members to county health board

ALBEMARLE — The Stanly County Board of Commissioners voted for appointments to the county’s Consolidated Human Services (CHS) board at its Nov. 6 meeting.  

The origin of the process began six years ago when the Stanly County Health Department and Department of Social Services boards merged into a 21-member CHS board. 

With the four-year terms of five general public members and one social worker on the CHS board set to expire, the commissioners had eight total appointments to make when combined with recent resignations by Dr. Amy Jordan and Kenneth Chambers leaving behind partial seats. 

The commissioners voted 6-1 two weeks ago to delay CHS appointments until their next meeting so they could review applications that were not originally provided for viewing. 

There were 20 total applicants for the open positions, including a vacant spot by CHS board Chair Jann Lowder, who chose to not seek reappointment. 

Following a review process and nominations, the commissioners voted on Nov. 6 to appoint Seena Koohestani as a Consumer of Human Services member, Dr. James Link as a Veterinarian member, Beth Thomas as a Social Worker member, as well as Kenny Kendall, Dr. Mark Speight, Shaun Morgan, Kristi Small and Victoria Ramos to the open General Public membership seats. 

The voting process featured multiple tie-breaker rounds that ended in votes that were split on 4-3 lines.  

Overall, the results stood in contrast to the recommendations from the CHS, who had asked that the commissioners appoint Thomas, Small, Sherry Poplin, Georgette Edgerton, and Larry Gibson for four-year terms ending in 2027. 

Commissioner Peter Asciutto commented on the heavy revision to the CHS following the voting process.  

“It looks like the North Carolina Board of Health of the Year is replacing six of the eight people that were currently on there,” he said. 

His reference was to the annual Outstanding Board of Health Award that was given to the CHS by the Association of NC Boards of Health in October. The CHS was honored by the state for its efforts to support opioid overdose and death prevention programs in the county with the help of opiate settlement funding. 

“Correct. You had eight up and it looks like Beth Thomas and Kristi Small are two of the eight that were re-appointed,” County Manager Andy Lucas responded.  

Later in the meeting, Asciutto thanked all the CHS members for their service to the community. 

“I just want to firstly thank those that served on the combined health board. They’ve done a fantastic job. We don’t have to always listen to the board, but I think we’ve not really listened to them from time to time. Tonight, they had recommended that five of them be reappointed but now they’re going to have three new people.  

He continued: “I appreciate and thank the ones that are coming on and I wish them the best of luck. First, I want to thank Jann Lowder, Dr. Amy Jordan, Kenneth Chambers, Terry Poplin, Georgette Edgerton — she’s been wonderful there — Kristi Small, Larry Gibson and Beth Thomas.” 

The commissioners’ next regular meeting is scheduled for Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. in the Gene McIntyre Meeting Room at Stanly County Commons.