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Gaston County DHHS Director Abruptly Resigns Due To 'Personnel Issue'


Gaston County’s 16-year-veteran Health and Human Services Director Chris Dobbins resigned abruptly Monday. Gaston County's government says it won’t comment because it’s a personnel issue.

In a letter sent to the county manager, Dobbins said it was an honor and a privilege to serve the county in his roles as assistant health director and later health director. He pointed to the department’s ability to “maximize staff’s voice and recognize their good work.”

Dobbins said he is leaving Gaston County’s Health and Human Services department in a better place. He did not provide any reason for the departure. County spokesperson Adam Gaub says the reason was a "personnel issue." But Gaub said there is no connection between Dobbins’ resignation and the county’s decisions around the coronavirus pandemic. 

"So there wasn't anything from that perspective that was out of line or abnormal or anything in that regard," Gaub said on Monday.

Gaston County lifted its state of emergency last Friday, and the County Commission previously has butted heads with Gov. Roy Cooper over the state's stay-at-home orders.

Commission Chair Tracey Philbeck told WFAE that Dobbins informed the commission last Friday he would be resigning this week, effective immediately. Philbeck said he was not surprised by the departure. The county said in its press release that Dobbins’ role will be filled by Gaston County’s public health director and its social services director for now. It also said the county would evaluate whether to fill Dobbins’ position again.

Dobbins’ resignation follows that of the head of South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control, Rick Toomey. Toomey resigned at the end of May, citing health and family concerns.