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Pitt County DSS director makes plea for more employees

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - The Pitt County Department of Social Services is swimming in work and asking commissioners for help.

The agency's director made a plea this week for 31 more employees to help meet demand.

We're following up an earlier investigation into massive workload.
     
Will the request be granted?

As we near a very important deadline for the Department of Health and Human Services and the food stamps backlog, DSS officials are putting in their budget request for additional workers.

"We have determined what our workload is,” said Earl Marett, Interim DSS Director. “We have measured the productivity of the employees. We find that we do not have sufficient employees to do all the work that we had."
     
Interim Director Earl Marett says the demands are just too high.  
     
Food stamps and Medicaid applications have sky rocketed and on Monday he asked commissioners for 31 employees over the next two years.
     
"There definitely is a need," said Earl Marett.
     
In recent years the department has struggled to keep up with caseloads and losing positions hasn't helped.
     
In 2010 commissioners started to eliminate vacant positions within DSS. It totals about 20.
     
But in reality, Marett says they really need about 4 dozen more employees.
     
Commissioners are skeptical.

"There's 227 people working for the department, it would seem to me that somehow you could shuffle people around," said Tom Coulson, Pitt Co. Commissioner.

"If we get all of these people, where are we going to put them," asked Glen Webb, Vice-Chairman.

Well that is a question," said Marett. "I would recommend that you looked at the possibility of some working from home.
     
But Commissioner Glenn Webb says he's concerned for an underlying issue, a remaining backlog.
     
"The Medicaid backlog is just mind boggling,” said Webb. How we are ever going to meet this april 1st deadline. I understand that's why we need the positions, but even if we hired them all today are we going to meet that deadline?
     
"I'm very concerned about that as well and the state has been having serious problems across the state," said Marett.
     
Commissioners did not decide on anything Monday night, but these talks will be revisited come budget time.

DSS says they will meet the March 31st USDA deadline, but says the next step will be to overcome the lingering Medicaid backlog.
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