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NC FAST director leaving post

Posted February 19, 2014

NC FAST Program Director Anthony Vellucci

— The director of the state's NC FAST system, launched this year to streamline the delivery of social services, is leaving in March for a job in the private sector.

The state Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday that Anthony Vellucci, who has led the NC FAST team since 2010, will leave March 7 for EngagePoint, a health care IT firm in Maryland. Last June, the department boosted Vellucci's salary by $23,000 after he received another job offer, telling lawmakers he was critical to the success of the NC FAST program.

"The retention increase in Mr. Vellucci's salary resulted in his agreement to continue to serve as the Director for NC FAST," DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos wrote to members of the Legislative Black Caucus on Nov. 4 in defense of Vellucci's $168,000 annual salary.

On Wednesday, DHHS Chief Information Officer Joe Cooper said Vellucci has been "instrumental" in the implementation of the new system, which combines 19 social services programs into one.

"He truly turned a vision into reality," Cooper said in a statement. "His unwavering dedication to this complex and far-reaching initiative will ensure that North Carolinians are better served by DHHS and county social services for years to come. Anthony's passion, outstanding work ethic and expertise will be missed."

DHHS spokesperson Julie Henry declined to comment on whether the department offered Vellucci another raise after he informed supervisors of the most recent job offer, saying personnel discussions are not public record.

But she said Vellucci's departure would not impact the operation or implementation of the system.

"I know right now, the goal is to keep things moving forward," Henry said.

The roll-out of NC FAST has been plagued at times by technical problems that significantly slowed workers attempting to process food stamp cases. In July, email records showed DHHS downplayed problems associated with a system update that contributed to a massive backlog of food stamp cases.

The majority of the backlog, estimated in August to be as high as 70,000 cases, wasn't cleared until Feb. 10, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture threatened to pull federal funding for the administration of the food stamp program.

But speaking before lawmakers Feb. 11, DHHS officials said that, although there will always be some issues with major systems like NC FAST, the "key defects" impacting county workers in Food and Nutrition Services had all been fixed.

"The performance of this system has been stellar for FNS in catching up their work," Deputy Secretary for Human Services Sherry Bradsher said. "There have been no performance issues, and the defects described by the USDA have been corrected."

Angela Taylor, who joined the NC FAST team in August as deputy director, will serve as acting program director after Vellucci's departure.

"Angela has been an invaluable partner to Anthony for the past several months," Cooper said in the release. "I am confident that her strong leadership will ensure the success of NC FAST."

It's not clear when the search will begin for a permanent director.

"NC FAST is a major IT implementation. Staffing needs are continually evaluated to ensure the highest quality services are delivered for our clients: DHHS, county social services departments and the people of North Carolina," Henry said in an email. "We will take the time necessary to make an assessment before beginning any recruiting efforts.

32 Comments

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  • HeadsUp Feb 24, 2014

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    Disagree 1,000%. Managerial ability and leadership at the top matter, and their absence cripples the team. See: Lady Wos.

  • Jump1 Feb 21, 2014

    Anyone with a HS ed could do his job, what counts is the individuals under his/her direction. they are the backbone of getting it done.

  • Forthe Newssite Feb 21, 2014
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    Private Sector ALWAYS pays more, generally LOTS more in many professions. When I left hospital nursing for a job in private sector I immediately made more $ and am now making even more$

  • Forthe Newssite Feb 21, 2014
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    Can he take Wos WITH HIM???!!!?!?!?

    apparently he was NOT critical as all I've heard of is problems with NC Fast so .....

  • sabsco Feb 21, 2014

    This is how many people who have either been hired or given substantial raises by Wos only to leave weeks or months later? Between DHHS and now DENR, McCrory's glorious mission to "fix broken state government" seems like it's doing a whole lot more "breaking" than it is "fixing".

  • Carol Smith Feb 21, 2014
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    You are right!

  • Barbara Sossomon Feb 21, 2014
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    Maybe you should look at WHO appointed him to begin with. GOod ole Bev honey. When you are dealing with systems that have been in development for 3+ years, it is better to keep the people in the position who have the workings knowledge, if you can.

    It amazes me that Pat is responsible for the people that BEVVIE hired. Maybe he should fire them ALL

  • ALECarolina Feb 20, 2014

    Firing Wos would be counterproductive to the radical ALEC agenda that has made NC the laughingstock of America.

    Make no mistake, these ALEC stooges have captured our state for their corporate masters, and the disaster at NC DHHS is by design. First, they run off the folks who know how to run the agency, second, hand out raises and no-bid contracts to political hacks, third, complain about how "broken" DHHS is so they can privatize it and get a chunk of all that taxpayer money.

    This latest defection by the FAST director proves how brazen the NCGOP "leadership" is.....they openly preside over agency destruction. set up a private contractor to "fix" the problem, then resign and join the contractor's payroll to start a new "career" in the "private sector".

    It doesn't seem possible that they'd get away with this outrage with everybody looking, but don't look NOW......

  • TruDat Feb 20, 2014

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    McCrory can't (or won't) fire Wos, which is unfortunate. She is smart, but ill equipped for the job. She will keep dragging him down as long as he keeps her on.

  • TruDat Feb 20, 2014

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    A small startup company called IBM wrote the software, so complain to them.

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