MONTPELIER >> About 30 social workers will be moved out of the Barre office where a colleague was shot to death last summer to a nearby courthouse with better security, a top Vermont official said Friday.

Administration Secretary Justin Johnson said he met with the social workers from the Family Services Division of the Department for Children and Families, and they were generally supportive of the move.

"It was a traumatic experience and in some way I think some of them sort of relive it every day, and so part of the idea here is to both enhance the security and make the best of the security we have, but also to enable the folks to move on from the tragedy," Johnson said.

To enter the courthouse the public must go through metal detectors and all of their belongings are subject to search. Johnson said that in the wake of the Aug. 7 killing of Lara Sobel, the state is also reviewing security at other state buildings.

The Vermont State Employees Association, which represents the social workers, said it was pleased with the decision.

"There is security at the courthouse, and this will hopefully give the DCF workers a measure of comfort and allow them to slowly try to get their working lives back to normal," said VSEA Executive Director Steve Howard.

The social workers will move into some vacant space in the courthouse building. Other state offices in the city will also be reconfigured and a number will remain in the City Place building outside of which Sobel was shot to death while leaving work.


The woman charged with killing Sobel, Jody Herring, believed Sobel caused her to lose custody of her 9-year-old daughter. Herring is also charged with killing three relatives.