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Gaston County DHHS Director Moves On

GASTONIA, N.C. – This morning, Gaston County announces the resignation of the head of its Department of Health and Human Services, Chris Dobbins.

The departments will be led moving forward by Stephen Eaton, the county’s public health director, and Angela Karchmer, the county’s social services director. The county is now evaluating whether it will fill the DHHS director position moving forward.

“We can’t thank Chris enough for his years of dedicated service to his home county and the groundbreaking work our team has undertaken during his leadership,” County Manager Dr. Kim Eagle said. “We wish him nothing but the best as he moves forward in his career, but know that our department remains as strong as ever with Steve and Angi ready to step into expanded leadership roles.”

Dobbins, a Gaston County native, came to the county in 2004 following a distinguished career in the United States Air Force. He retired as a Command Chief Master Sergeant, the highest available enlisted rank.

Dobbins worked his way up from Assistant Health Director to Health Director, before becoming the head of DHHS in 2013 when the public health and social services departments consolidated. He was named Health Director of the Year in 2017 by the North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors.

DHHS has noted significant achievements during Dobbins’ tenure, including receiving national recognition for its work in teen pregnancy prevention and at its Teen Wellness Center. That innovative work continues to this day, as the county prepares to roll out the most comprehensive tobacco policy in the state beginning July 1.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the County and our residents for the past sixteen years,” Dobbins said. “I could not be more proud of our work and all that we have accomplished together. I have no doubt the great work will continue with the amazing team we have built at the Department.”