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Bolton appointed chairman of senior services
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Though Newton County Senior Services continues to function normally, its board of directors has been struggling to identify its role and hasn't been able to provide assistance.

The Board of Commissioners appointed Doug Bolton as senior services board chairman Tuesday night, a move it hopes will eventually bring direction to the board.

Bolton has been an active volunteer during much of his time in Newton County, including a two-year stint as director of the community service group Hands on Newton. He also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and the Miracle League.

"For me, when you live in a community and you're asked to do something that might be able to help the community, you do it," Bolton said in a Wednesday phone interview.

Bolton will help the county assess how the senior services board should operate, including whether it should focus on raising funds and whether it should study and attempt to address senior issues on a community level. Lack of participation and confusion about duties had hindered prior boards.

In July, the BOC and the non-profit senior services organization signed a memorandum of understanding to clarify the relationship between the parties. Under the agreement, senior services must:
- develop and provide a yearly "Work Program", which will outline all yearly programs and services and any planned changes in those areas
- provide quarterly reports to the BOC about its programs, the number of people served, sources of funding and fundraising activities
- maintain certifications necessary to provide senior meals, home-delivery meals and senior wellness programs
- provide requests for money, including invoices, to the county on an as needed basis

However, Chairman Kathy Morgan said previously that senior services also needed to tackle two key issues:
- a lack of space in the Turner Lake Complex senior facility
- a lack of money to pay for increasing demand of senior services

Bolton said he has experience working with Josephine Brown, senior services' executive director, who many officials say runs one of the best senior programs in the state.

Bolton said he will spend the next several weeks study senior services and touching base with current and past board members.