March 2, 2017

Citing health issues, Corprew resigns as DSS director

BY MARK JURKOWITZ
OUTER BANKS SENTINEL


In a March 1 email sent to DSS staff, Corprew, said her decision was based on “ongoing health issues over the last year and a half.” She added that “Dare County is a wonderful place to work and you all are second to none, serving the residents of Dare County with kindness, compassion, and sincerity…I have fond memories of my time in Dare County and wish each of [you] the best.”

Corprew’s management style, however, had generated criticism and controversy. It was the focus of a Sentinel story earlier this year that included interviews with a number of people who had worked at DSS and cited their view that under her leadership, “the agency has undergone a kind of culture change, putting less emphasis on the client-centric nature of the work and creating a workplace beset with internal tension, morale problems and troubling turnover.”

The Sentinel story, headlined “Concerns raised about management at Dare Social Services,” examined turnover and morale problems within DSS. It also looked at the case of veteran social worker Jonna Midgette, whose termination last summer was seen by some as both unjustified and symptomatic of larger management problems.

The story reported that a number of concerns “focus on Corprew’s management style and several of those interviewed recalled that she described herself as ‘the cleaner’ or ‘the terminator,’ or in other similar terms, in what was widely perceived to be a reference to her willingness to show employees the door.”A Sentinel request to interview Corprew for that story was not granted. But in an interview with the paper, Jay Burrus, the Director of the Dare County Health and Human Services Department, which includes DSS, defended her performance.

“I think she has standards and performance standards….but I don’t think she’s unfair,” he said. “It’s not a toxic workplace.”

Responding to criticism about a culture change in DSS, Burrus said: “I haven’t seen a lot of changes in the operation or culture. I think some of this [criticism of Corprew] is scapegoating, honestly.”


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