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Van Dobson's departure leaves gap in Facilities Services leadership at UNC

Yet another leadership gap appeared in an ailing division of the University with the December departure of former Facilities Services director Van Dobson.

But University officials said the transition to Interim Director Ray DuBose has been smooth, and that all signs point to a better future for rebuilding the unit, which oversees housekeeping, grounds and building services, among others — totaling more than 1,000 employees.

When Dobson left the department Dec. 16, he left vacant the highest position in Facilities Services. The housekeeping department also lacks a permanent director.

The gaps in management were expected upon the release of the PRM Consulting Group’s report in October, said Jackie Overton, chairwoman of the Employee Forum.

The report detailed managerial problems, harassment and discrimination in the housekeeping department and listed 45 recommendations for change. It was scathing, Overton said.

“After having read that report, I anticipated that there would be some vacancies,” she said. “You expect some fallout.”

But Overton said Dobson’s departure is not tied to the negative findings by PRM.

“He had been interviewing for a different position prior to the report coming back,” she said.

Dobson is now associate vice president of Facilities Services and Campus Planning at Lehigh University.

“I was just looking for a broader opportunity to manage an integrated facilities program, where at UNC I had a portion of a facilities program,” he said.

Overton said the transition to DuBose has been seamless.

“Ray has over 30-something years of University experience, so he knows who the University players are,” she said. “He can hit the ground running, so the University doesn’t miss a beat.”

“The University is really good at recruiting strong people for these positions, and I expect we’ll have a strong candidate for this position soon,” he said.

Overton said the Employee Forum plans to request a seat on the search committee.

Another search committee tasked with hiring a new director of housekeeping services has narrowed candidates to a pool of 12.

“For the first time in a long time, I’m excited about a unit on campus being able to be rebuilt and rebranded,” Overton said. “We are working on rebuilding.”

She said a candidate will be selected around March, and the search committee is making sure candidates come in aware of — and ready to mend — the department’s problems.

“Good things are coming in the housekeeping department, and it is long overdue,” she said.

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