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Durham County DSS Director is Appointed to the NC Health and Human Services Department

Post Date:03/23/2017

Durham, NC –  Michael A. Becketts, Director of Durham County Department of Social Services, has been named the Assistant Secretary for Human Services at the North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services. This appointment was made by Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mandy Cohen.  Mr. Becketts will have direct oversight of the Division of Social Services and the Division of Aging and Adult Services and will support the Deputy Director of Human Services with other aspects of human services.


He came to Durham County Government in August, 2012, and from the beginning his exemplary leadership was apparent as he took the helm of the county’s Department of Social Services while forging meaningful partnerships with local community agencies. During his time with Social Services, Mr. Becketts has worked with community stakeholders in addressing critical events such as the closing of a low-income housing community, the local implementation of the state’s NCFAST system that processes public assistance benefits, he worked with the County’s IS&T department to develop the state’s first mobile application that allows for Durham County residents to submit documentation for benefits using mobile devices. During his tenure he also instituted training for the entire agency to improve its customer relations; became the primary investigator on a $750,000 grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services to create the Durham Integrated Domestic Violence Program.  These are a few of the many achievements Mr. Becketts has made while in Durham.  On behalf of the DSS Board, Chairwoman, Tara Fikes said, “Michael has been a tremendously effective leader for DSS for nearly five years and will be missed. Specifically, his in-depth knowledge of human service delivery systems and his unique ability to engage the community-at-large in addressing local needs, have enabled the department to be strategically responsive to the Durham community.” 


The Durham County Board of Social Services has appointed Catherine Williamson-Hardy as the agency’s Interim Director. Ms. Williamson-Hardy has an extensive 27 year background in the field of human services.  She began her career as a temporary employee with DSS, and continued to move upward over the years.  Most recently Williamson-Hardy is serving as the agency’s Assistant Director for Customer Accountability Talent and Development division (CATD). Her new role will take effect upon Mr. Becketts’ exit in late April.  “Catherine’s leadership during this transition will allow the agency to continue work while ensuring effective staff development, maintaining and building significant partnerships, and ensuring that quality services are provided to Durham residents,” says Mr. Becketts.


“I look forward to helping shape and mold the provision of social services across the state of North Carolina. I am confident that Durham’s Department of Social Services is on the right path, and will continue to operate effectively,” says Mr. Becketts. 


Michael A. Becketts’ departure date from DSS will be April 21, 2017.




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