Commissioners Approve 5 New Full-Time Social Services Positions

Johnston County Department of Social Services Director Scott Sabatino appears before Johnston County Commissioners on Oct. 7, 2019. Sabatino received approval to hire 5 new full-time employees to help reduce a backlog of Medicaid applications. Photo

The Johnston County Department of Social Services is advertising to fill five vacancies after County Commissioners created the new positions.

DSS Director Scott Sabatino received permission to hire 5 additional Medicaid Processing employees.  Sabatino said his staff is about 800 cases behind in processing Medicaid applications.   “The processing unit is feeling the pressure of a high caseload,” Sabatino said. “All the counties are struggling with this.”

Currently there are six processors who perform 4 hours of mandatory and 4 hours of voluntary overtime each week, Sabatino said.  Since July 1st, 2019, the DSS has spent about $140,000 in overtime pay.

The DSS director had asked for the 5 new positions in the current fiscal year budget but there were previously rejected. Commissioners changed their minds and approved the positions at their Oct. 7th meeting.

The starting salary of the new positions will be between $36,000 and $39,000 per year, with the county receiving a 75 percent reimbursement from the federal government.

“When clients come in they want services like yesterday,” Sabatino told Commissioners, adding the overtime compensation paid out since July would likely have covered the 25% cost to the County for the 5 new positions for the entire fiscal year.

Sabatino said the county’s rapid growth was placing a demand on DSS services.  The director had previously asked county leaders for additional space or a new DSS building.  No action has been taken on the request for a new facility.

Sabatino said he did not anticipate asking county officials for any additional positions until the next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020.