While state officials continue to wrestle with computer glitches in the food stamp program, people in need are going hungry and extraordinarily dedicated social services employees are working nights and weekends in Edgecombe County.
As Telegram staff writer Darla Slipke reported this week, the NC FAST program remains woefully behind schedule in sending food stamps benefits to qualified people across North Carolina. Employees of the Edgecombe County Department of Social Services have racked up nearly 2,000 hours of overtime trying to work in a new, unfamiliar system through issues caused by a glitch-prone computer program implemented in 2012 by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
But even as the overtime mounts, the county can’t help everyone in need in a timely fashion. An advisory board for the Department of Social Services has asked Edgecombe County commissioners to hire six temporary workers to take some of the strain off overworked county employees.
The county should make that hiring decision now ... at once ... immediately.
We would hope the Department of Health and Human Services would compensate Edgecombe – and any other county with similar workload issues – but regardless, the FAST clients need their benefits and the county social services workers need a break.
Political finger-pointing and blame games can wait. The crisis caused by the FAST problems cannot.
Hire the temps.