Moving one county overthe Watauga County Board of Commissioners after their Tuesday meeting, announced the appointment of Tom Hughes to the position of Department of Social Services Director. Jim Atkinson, current director, announced his retirement to be effective April 1st. Watauga Commissioners unanimously appointed Mr. Hughes to serve as Watauga County Social Services Director effective April 2nd. Mr. Hughes is no stranger to Watauga County serving eleven years with the Social Services Department; five years as a Childrens Services Social Worker and six years as the Supervisor for Child Protective Services. Mr. Hughes presently serves as the Social Services Director for Avery County, a post he has held for six years. Tom Hughes will lead a department with a budget of over $5 million and 46 employees who provide services to children, families, the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed and underemployed, and those receiving public assistance.