DOBSON — A man with more than four decades of social services management experience has been tapped as interim director of the Surry County Department of Social Services.
Benjamin H. Maney, 66, who prefers to be called by his middle name Harry, took over the position on June 3, following the departure of long-time Director Wayne Black, who left his post to become the director of the North Carolina Department of Social Services.
Maney brings a wealth of experience to the position, starting working for the state social services department in 1976.
During his tenure he has served as state consultant on adult daycare and a consultant on the state’s Food Stamps program. Maney has served as director of both the Scotland and Henderson county departments of social services.
In addition, Maney has extensive training experience, with years spent in staff development and training for the western part of North Carolina.
His experience includes working as a management consultant for county departments of social services, working to improve efficiency, job programs and internal staff development.
Prior to his retirement in 2008, Maney worked as a licensing agent for childcare facilities, including licensing foster homes and children’s homes.
Since retiring Maney has spent his time “working for the state off and on” writing manuals on foster care licensing.
But his retirement doesn’t mean Maney hasn’t kept his finger on the pulse of social services in the state.
“The first thing I did when I retired was send my resume to Vanguard Professional Staffing,” he said, noting the staffing agency specializes in the placement of human services professionals.
Maney said he was ecstatic when approached by the headhunting agency about filling Black’s seat in Surry County.
“This county, this agency in particular, and former Director Black have just a stellar reputation,” he said. “I consider it an honor to follow Wayne Black and work with the excellent staff he has put together.
“This county is a shining example of fine government.”
Maney said his primary goal is to continue the work of the former director.
“Just to keep this agency on track and continue to manage the challenges and obstacles that may come up over the next few months,” he said. “My second goal is to prepare this agency for its new director by helping both supervisors and staff appreciate the resources and talents they bring to the job.”
He said he wants individual employees to be proud of their work.
“I want them to be able to explain to anyone who asks why what they do is important,” he said. “I feel like every job is important, and my job is to help them understand their value in this organization.”
Maney will serve as interim director through Sept. 30.
“I feel this is a personal honor,” he said. “I’m humbled to just be here. Everything I see in Surry County is living up to its reputation.
“This department is known throughout the state as a model of how to do things right.”
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.