Starting today, the McDuffie County office of the Department of Family and Children Services will have a familiar face in charge.
After Kathy Usry's retirement as director last August, Lincoln County Director Mary Beth Lukich was chosen to take the reins in McDuffie County on an interim basis.
After nearly a year in that capacity, Mrs. Lukich has officially taken the position as McDuffie County DFCS director.
And she is ready to continue the positive direction in which she feels her department is moving.
"They are a very experienced, stable staff. They're just great, and so they function very smoothly," she said. "The state is making a lot of changes at the state level that should not be seen in any way to the general public. The way we do business should stay the same."
For Mrs. Lukich DFCS is a family affair. Her husband is also a county director, and they both started in Richmond County as case workers.
Both have been with DFCS for 14 years now, and Mrs. Lukich even had a three-year stint at McDuffie County DFCS as a regional resource coordinator.
"So I already know a lot of the people in McDuffie County and in the office there," she said. "It's kind of like coming home."
Mrs. Lukich considers her job as one that is needed in the community. She is glad to provide those services, and she is excited to be devoting all of her attention to McDuffie County now.
"It's definitely a need in the community that we're fulfilling. I like my job because it is constantly changing. We're having to be able to adapt...to me that's exciting." Mrs. Lukich said. "It will be good to be able to focus on one county. I've been doing two for almost a year now."
Bill Hillis, DFCS field operations manager and Mrs. Lukich's supervisor, gave the new McDuffie County Director very high marks.
"I think she will do an excellent job," Mr. Hillis said. "She has an excellent track record with our division. ... I really think what she is going to bring is a continued high standard of excellence in that office."
Mrs. Lukich did cite several challenges to taking on her new title in McDuffie.
Limited state funding resources as well as an unemployment rate on the rise are just a couple of problems she will have to guide her department through during her tenure as director.