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Director Willing To Take Pay Cut To Keep Cumberland Program Running

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. — Many state agencies will be cutting services because of the state's budget crunch.

Some bosses say they have no options. But if you were in charge, would you be willing to take a pay cut to keep a program up and running? One man in Cumberland County is willing to do just that.

"I think someone's got to make a statement," said John Clark, director of the

Cumberland County Juvenile Assessment Center


Clark worries that the state-supported agency could lose $23,000 of its $360,000 budget because of state budget cuts.

He so strongly believes in what the center is doing that Clark said he is willing to cut his $42,000 salary to avoid reducing staff and services. He expects that amount could be anywhere from $10,000 to the full $23,000.

Clark does not want to turn away new clients because of the cuts. "I think the workers, people who have young families with children, and the people with families in trouble should have 150 percent of my support," he said.

Shiasha Hinton has benefited from the program.

Hinton said she was hanging out with the wrong crowd and having trouble at home. Her mother turned to the center to get the high school freshman on the right track. "I know if I stayed with my old friends they would have gotten me to do the wrong things and mess up everything. I had to get my life back together," Hinton said.

A caseworker visits Hinton at school several times a month. The 14-year-old also attended seminars and is enrolled in a program for teenage girls.

It is that kind of transition that Clark said he is not willing to jeopardize, even if it affects his bottom line.

Clark said he can afford the lower salary because of retirement income. He has been the director of the Juvenile Assessment Center since it opened in 1998. The Cumberland County center is the only one of its kind in the state.


Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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