ASHE COUNTY-In a retirement ceremony punctuated by lots of laughter and more than a few tears, Ashe County’s longtime Director of Social Services Donna Weaver said goodbye to the career that she’s embraced for nearly 40 years.
“Oh it’s a very bittersweet way to end this,” Weaver said. “Endings and losses are always hard but that’s just the way life cycles and it’s just sort of necessary.”
Weaver worked her way around a packed conference room at the Ashe County Courthouse on Nov. 20, and embraced old friends and longtime colleagues before being presented with a plaque from Ashe County Commissioner William Sands.
“As a commissioner I’ve presented so many of these retirement plaques to people – and it’s always a sad time,” Sand said. “You’re losing experience, someone who’s been so loyal for so many years. I’ve known Donna for 20 years, and she’s done so much for Ashe County and has meant so much to us.”
How’d we get here
Weaver announced her intention to retire earlier this month, following a public hearing held by the Ashe County Board of Commissioners. Weaver, who has been with the county’s department of social services since 1978, said her last day will be Nov. 30, 2015.
In a letter addressed to the Ashe County Department of Social Services Board of Directors, Weaver said she is choosing to retire as the past two years have been “unnecessarily difficult.”
“I have been needlessly micromanaged, threatened about who I will report to, had unnecessary work created for me and my staff, and unfair angst created for other agencies with whom I closely work,” Weaver wrote. “For two years, I have endured lack of basic professional courtesy, respect, genuine collaboration or trust from county leadership. My job is difficult enough without interference. Given the current circumstances that is unlikely to change.”
Weaver’s decision followed two public hearings hosted by commissioners in early November as they considered dissolving the agency’s oversight board. Following the meetings and the announcement of Weaver’s resignation, three commissioners – Larry Rhodes, William Sands, and Jeff Rose – said they would not vote to dissolve the social services board.
Randy Revis, an adult services social worker, was named interim Director of Ashe County DSS on Nov. 16. He’ll take over Weaver’s duties as the board searches for her full-time replacement.
A run for commissioner
Weaver said Friday she’ll miss her old post and plans to enjoy her retirement. She has no plans to take it easy, however.
Weaver said she’s planning to run for Ashe County Commissioner in 2016.
“An attorney friend of mine 20 years ago said when you leave, something else opens up,” Weaver said. “So I’m planning to run for commissioner.”
Three commission seats will be up for grabs next year, including those held by Larry Rhodes, Gary Roark and Brien “Bruno” Richardson.
“I don’t want to be ugly and bash,” Weaver said. “There needs to be some light-heartedness embraced by this board, and someone who will make connections and collaborate. I just really hope to be an instrument of peace. That’s what I think my purpose in life is.”
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058 or Twitter.com/AdamROrr.