April 20, 2011; Source: Wilkes Journal-Patriot | NPQ has documented a number of mergers recently that occurred when one of the leaders of an agency leaves. It is fairly well known that a leadership transition provides a less complicated opportunity for merger and it appears that boards may be more often looking at those options when the occasion presents itself. In this case, two elder care agencies in Wilkes, North Carolina – the Respite Care Senior Center and Wilkes Senior Citizen’s Council are working up to a merger as Joyce Johnson has announced her impending departure from the Wilkes Senior Council.

The move is being made in the wake of a scandal involving the embezzlement of more than $150,000 in funds from Respite Care Senior Center by Charles Mathews, its former director. But county commissioners, who are pushing for the merger say that the plan has been in the works since 2002. A long engagement.

Actually, the parties are already living together, both being housed in the County owned Wilkes Senior Center.

We are sorry to note that one of the major reasons why the merger is being sought is to reduce administrative costs. We are sorry about this only because mergers do not often produce such savings, at least in the first few years, in fact often costing more at first in the cost of combining two entities. We hope that expectations are kept in check where this is concerned.—Ruth McCambridge