Union Co. officials mum on resignation of DSS director

by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:

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UNION COUNTY, N.C. - Union County officials refuse to answer questions about the investigation into and sudden resignation of the Department of Social Services director.

John Holtkamp resigned on July 19, just five months after taking the helm at the Union County Department of Social Services.

Holtkamp replaced former director Dontae Latson, who resigned in June 2011, citing tension with other county officials.

County officials placed Holtkamp on paid administrative leave on June 22nd, the same time they hired a private firm to investigation allegations against him.

Tuesday the DSS Board Chairman refused to answer questions about the nature of the allegations, but multiple sources tell Eyewitness News they involved employee complaints about Holtkamp's unethical behavior.

The county budgeted up to $20,000 to pay for the investigation, but refused to share the results with WSOC-TV, citing confidentiality concerns.

Eyewitness News delved through Holtkamp's settlement agreement and discovered he will receive a severance payment of $8,750.

Channel 9 also learned since March, taxpayers had been footing the bill for an apartment for Holtkamp, with a rent up to $1,200...and will continue to pay the rent until mid-September.
That is on top of Holtkamp's $104,000 salary. Board officials did say they paid the same rent stipend to former director Dontae Latson.

The revelation didn't sit well with taxpayers, who tell Channel 9 that county officials should be paying their own rent.

"When you see the line in there for section 8 housing...there is a need in this county," said resident Jan Howell.

"To me, that's abusing the system...that's definitely not right,"