The Delaware County commissioners have named Shancie Jenkins the director of county job and family services, effective Jan. 30.

The Delaware County commissioners have named Shancie Jenkins the director of county job and family services, effective Jan. 30.

From a pool of more than 30 candidates, the commissioners, county administrator Tim Hansley and administrative director Dawn Huston interviewed the final four candidates.

"When Shancie walked out of the room," said commissioner Dennis Stapleton, "the five of us just looked at one another. I said, 'It's hard sometimes to define what a candidate brings with her, but there's no doubt about it, she's got it.'"

Jenkins, who lives in Powell, was the first choice of all five interviewers.

Her background, Stapleton said, was impressive.

"She is the senior policy adviser in the Director's Office at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. And before that, she worked for Franklin County Job and Family Services," he said. "But in addition to her experience, she just had an exceptional energy and poise that impressed all of us. She was head and shoulders above the other candidates."

Stapleton said Jenkins "has a deep and wide-ranging understanding of the entire system, from child protective services and Ohio Works First to food assistance, disability services and workforce development."

She succeeds Mona Reilly, who retired last year and had worked with the agency since 1992.

Jenkins earned a bachelor's in business administration from Kent State University and a master's from Ohio Dominican College. In 2007, Jenkins managed the ODJFS' One Stop staff. Two years later, she was assisting the director in creating policy.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the state," Jenkins said. "But I'm looking forward to working on the county level again, of showing up for work every morning and meeting the clients we're serving. I want to know that I'm making a difference."

Jenkins said it will be rewarding to implement the statewide policies she had a hand in creating.

Her first priority as director will be to address "the looming federal penalties Ohio faces if we don't conform to the requirements for the Ohio Works First program."

In September, the ODJFS finalized a corrective plan "designed to bring Ohio's cash assistance program into line with federal welfare-to-work requirement" in order to avoid more than $130 million in penalties.

"I'm going to make sure we're heading in the right direction," she said. "That penalty would be devastating to Ohioans."

Her next priority will be to "dive into community outreach. Job and Family Services is closely connected to our community partners. The United Way of Delaware County, local government and local businesses all play a critical role in our ultimate success. I want to work on those relationships right away."