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BOTH CLAIM UNJUST DISMISSAl
Suit Against County
ht tiuc CARLSON warning" on May 11, 1990, and later denied the right to
Two former county building inspectors have filed appeal the termination.
lawsuits against Brunswick County claiming they were It also seeks action against former county commis
unjusdy fired and demanding that they be re-hired and sioners Gene Pinkcrton, Frankie Rabon, Kelly Holden,
paid more than SI 50,000 in back wages, plus punitive Benny Ludlum and Grace Beasley for allegedly refus
damages. ing to hear Ingram's appcal.The current commissioners
John W. "Billy" Ingram IV filed his action in U.S. also are named in the suit in their official capacity.
District Court in Wilmington May 10, one day before Also filed recently in Brunswick County Superior
the third anniversary of his firing from the what the suit Court was a lawsuit against the county from former
calls a "created" position of county purchasing agent. building inspector Rudy B. Benton, claiming that for
The suit claims that David Clegg, who was then in- mcr County Manager John T. Smith fired him for
tenm county manager, fired Ingram with "no notice or protesting a transfer to another department at reduced
pay. "If all these grievous events actually transpired and
Benton's suit also blames Clcgg for acting improper- resulted in such horrendous wrongs, then why weren't
ly, claiming that he refused to reopen a grievance pro- they filed when I was there?" Clcgg said.
ceeding that Benton had asked to be heard by an advi- At the time of his termination, Ingram was a "proba
sory personnel board. As a result, Benton's complaint tionary employee" in a new position and therefore not
asserts that he was denied equal protection of the law protected by the county personnel policy, Clcgg said,
and denied due process under regulations outlined in During the first six months after hiring, when a work
the county personnel policy. er's job performance is being evaluated, an employee
In an interview last week, Clegg said he had not seen can be terminated at any time, he said.
either of the two lawsuits. However, after hearing some Benton was hired as a building inspector on the con
of the allegations read over the telephone, he said the dition that he successfully obtain a state building in
actions seemed to be "totally without merit." (Sec FORMER, Page 2-A)
Thirty-First Yeor, Number 26 mm***k*con Shallotte, North Carolina, Thursday, May 20, 1993 50?t Per Copy 36 Pages, 3 Sections, 3 Inserts
Tax Hike, New
Fees, Firings In
BY ERIC CARLSON
A JO-percent property tax in
crease, higher water rates, new land
fill tipping fees, a one-dollar hike
per number in monthly phone bills
and a SI 50 charge for an ambulance
visit arc among the revenue sources
proposed in the county's draft 1993
Five county departments would
be eliminated and seven employees,
including Parks and Recreation
Director Bobby "BJ." Jones, would
lose their jobs if the board of com
missioners adopts the spending plan
handed to them by Interim County
Manager John Harvey Monday
Spending recommendations in the
budget would require a tax rate of
74.75 cents per S100 valuation. The
current rate is 68 cents. The pro
posed hike would result in an annual
lax increase of S 16.88 for every
$25,000 of property valuation.
To avoid such an increase, Harvey
has offered an alternative package of
user fees that he says would keep
the tax rate at current levels. The
commissioners have scheduled a se
ries of three workshops and a public
hearing to consider Harvey's recom
Among the measures proposed in
the budget arc the elimination of the
Brunswick County Library Board of
Trustees (see related story) and the
Resources Development Commis
sion. Funding of the current library
construction program would not be
affected, but planning would be tak
en over by the county engineer.
Under the plan, RDC Director
Tom Monks would become an eco
nomic planner in the newly created
Department of Planning and Devel
opment Monks would see his salary
reduced by nearly 518,000 and
would have Harvey as his boss. A
temporary RDC position currently
held by Steve Johnson also would
Brunswick County Emergency
Management Director Cecil Logan
would lose nearly all his responsibil
ities in a proposed new position of
county fire marshal. Logan's admin
istrative assistant, Brenda Freeman,
would become the new emergency
Harvey's budget plan also paves
the way for the expected firing of
Clerk to the Board Kelly Barefoot
by deleting the only positions she
holds that are protected by the coun
ty personnel policy.
Barefoot has worked for Bruns
wick County for 14 years and is cur
rently employed as public inlorma
tion officer and administrative offi
cer under the county attorney. In
those positions, she previously serv
ed as secretary to former County
Manager/Attorney David Clegg.
Although a new job of "secretary
to the county manager" has been
created in Harvey's budget, Barefoot
was not placed in that position.
Instead, she is left only with her ten
uous appointment as clerk to the
board, allowing the commissioners
to dissmiss her without cause when
the budget becomes effective July 1.
Hardest hit in Harvey's budget
proposal were employees and pro
grams in the parks and recreation
department. Eliminated along with
(Se? PROPOSED, Page 2-A)
STAFF PHOTO BY tWC CAUL SON
JOHN HARVEY, interim Brunswick County Manager (standing) hands a copy of his proposed 1993-94 budget to Commissioner Wayland
Vereen at Monday's county board meeting. Also shown (from left) are Chairman Don Warren, Clerk to the Board Kelly Barefoot and
County Attorney Michael Ramos.
TWO APPLIED BEFORE
3 Of 4 Manager
BY ERIC CARLSON
Two applicants who were passed over for the
job of Brunswick County manager in 1991 came
back for another try Monday night, along with a
budget officer for the City of Wilmington.
A fourth candidate, the former manager of
Lincoln County, will be interviewed by the board
of commissioners later this month.
The county received 37 ap
plications for the job left va
f ; ? cant when County Manager
David Clegg resigned April
15. Seven were found to meet
the advertised qualifications
for the job and five were in
vited for interviews. One fi
nalist withdrew his applica
tion last week.
Appearing before the board
YELTON in 45-minute public inter
views Monday were William Wyman Yelton, 56,
who recently left a job as regional administrator
for the N.C. Council of Governments in Rocky
Mount; Jimmy Vamer, 58, the manager for
Yadkin County; and Michael Hargett, 40, who has
worked in the planning and finance departments
of the City of Wilmington for 18 yeare.
A1 Sharp, who resigned as manager of Lincoln
County last month, is also scheduled to be inter
viewed for the Brunswick County Manager posi
tion. Sharp is in Poland taking part in an environ
mental studies project on be
half of a local government
commission, a Lincoln Coun
ty government official said
Tuesday. He is scheduled to
return late this month.
Varner and Yelton were
among the four county man
ager applicants interviewed in
January 1991 when the board
of commissioners agreed to
HARGETT hire Clegg, who was then
county attorney. Yelton also applied unsuccessful
ly for the position of Resources Development
Director in 1990.
Each candidate was invited to introduce him
self to the commissioners and was asked a series
of 11 prepared questions by Chairman Don
Warren. A few other questions were asked by the
other board members.
In outlining his qualifications for the commis
sioners, Yelton said he began working in county
government in 1973 as finance officer for Burke
County. After two years, he took a similar posi
tion in Catawba County, and worked there until
he was hired as Sampson County Manager in
1979. He was county manager for Wayne County
from 1985 to 1989.
"It's also important for you to know that I also
worked for 10 years in the private sector in the
textile industry as a production manager and a
plant manager," Yelton said. "I think it makes me
appreciate government more by having learned to
make a payroll."
Until recently, Yelton was a regional adminis
trator for the Region L Council of Governments,
serving Wilson, Nash, Northampton, Edgecombe
and Halifax counties.
Varner also outlined a long list of his former
positions in municipal and
county government He was
city manager of York for four
years and served two years in
the same position in Knight
dale before being fired in
December 1990. Vamer was
city manager of Gatlinburg,
Tenn, for three years and is
the former county manager of
Davidson County. He is now
varner manager of Yadkin County.
Asked how he would deal with a governing
board of three Democrats and two Republicans,
Varner said he would try not to look at political
affiliations. He said that getting involved in local
politics would be "the kiss of death" for a county
Hargeu toid the commissioners he had worked
for the City of Wilmington since 1977. He has
served there as staff planner, zoning administra
tor, project director, management analyst and
(See FORMER, Page 2-A)
Harvey Explains Rationale
Behind Budget Proposal
BY ERIC CARLSON
County Planning Director John
Harvey may only be interim county
manager for a few months, but he
could significantly alter the course
and structure of Brunswick County
government for many years to come.
(See related story.)
In the budget message accompa
nying his proposed 1993-94 spend
ing package, Harvey asked the
board of commissioners to re-think
the way the county raises money
and to reconsider some of the ser
vices itcurrendy provides.
After the budget presentation
Monday night, Commissioners'
Chairman Don Warren said Harvey
had made "some very innovative
recommendations that are worthy of
discussion and review."
He also said that Harvey devel
oped the budget package on his
own, a claim disputed by several
sources at the county complex who
said Warren frequently met with
Harvey and Finance Officer Lithia
Hahn during the budget process.
"I am carrying out the policy di
rections of the commissioners, many
of which are subliminal, but none
theless policy," Harvey said in an in
terview Tuesday. "Managers since
1980 have recommended many of
these things. Policy doesn't end or
begin with a change in the board of
commissioners. It is ongoing."
Harvey made a similar reference
in his formal budget presentation to
"And as to the property tax, by
subliminal encouragement in the
past, the housing stock of Brunswick
County is composed of a dispropor
tionate chain of mobile homes
whose tax value does not bear ade
quate share even for those services
rendered by mandate of the state."
(See RATIONALE, Page 2-A)
U.S. 7 7 Shallotte-To-Supply Project
Behind Schedule; No June
BY SUSAN USHER
Take a deep breath and count to 10. Two
lane traffic will continue into another summer
on that busy, five-mile section of U.S. 17 be
tween Shallotte and Supply.
Dickerson Carolina Inc. is behind schedule
on a contract with an original completion date
of June 1, and will be liable for a hefty $750 a
day in fines starting around June 10 or 11,
O.T. Anderson, assistant resident engineer for
the project with the N.C. Department of
Transportation, said Monday. An extension of
the contract that included more work allowed
the contractor approximately 10 extra working
Though crews are "hustling" now to make
up lost lime and reduce penalty costs, "it will
probably be Aug. 1 or Aug. 15 before they're
through," according to Anderson.
The $5 million, 5.3-mile improvement pro
ject began in August 1991.
Anderson said the main hold-up now is five
box culverts that must be built along the
southbound lanes. He said DOT and the con
tractor are trying to arrange the work?includ
ing splitting traffic, perhaps?so that a final
layer of asphalt can be applied and striped on
as many lanes as possible while the culvert
work continues, without damaging the fin
While work is behind schedule north of
Shallotte, work on the section from south of
Shallotte to the South Carolina state line is
"moving along very well."
"We would like to have four lanes of traffic
to Thomasboro by the end of the year," said
Resident Engineer Allen Pope.
A base course of asphalt has been placed
from the Shallotte bypass to N.C. 904, and un
dercutting and backfilling of the road bed has
progressed south of the Thomasboro intersec
tion to a point near Bill's Camper Sales.
"I suspect before the year is over we will
have traffic switched to the new lanes so we
can rehabilitate the old (southbound) lanes,"
He said APAC Construction has as its goal
to finish one segment of the four-laning and
turn it over to the state for acceptance?and
opening to the public?by year's end.
To dale work on the entire 11.5-mile strip is
45 percent complete, about 5 percent ahead of
the contractor's estimated schedule.
Contractors have had to work around a con
tract provision that limits construction in tidal
creek areas to September to April because of
spawning fish. "Usually those are the worst
months to work in," said Pope, but most of the
culverts were completed in that time frame.
The company got a 30-day extension on one
under construction near Lion's Paw Golf
Course and one culvert will be built later.
"We're making progress and hopefully
catching up where we were behind before,"
said Pope. "Since the first of February we've
had very few days when we've been unable to
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