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Vereen Wants State To Study Brunswick Schools Spending
BY ERIC CARLSON or county school systems. Verccn said a long overdue. The people deserve it." mously to approve new personnel policies ally suggestive and/or invite advances."
Brunswick Commissioner Way land Ver- 1993 performance audit of Wake County Vereen plans to ask the board to approve governing sexual harassment, drug use and The policy calls for a confidential inves
een wants the state auditor to conduct a Schools found their spending priorities a resolution requesting the state audit at the employee licensing and certification. ligation to be m;ide for any complaint of
"management performance audit" of the "top-heavy." board's next meeting March 21. But even if Sexual harassment, defined as "unwel- sexual harassment It also prohibits retalia
county school system to find out if the An audit of Brunswick County Schools the measure is approved that quickly, the come sexual advances, request for sexual tion against employees who bring sexual
county is getting the most from its educa- would not seek to compare dollars with audit probably wouldn't be ready in time favors and other verbal of physical conduct harassment charges. An employee who vio
tion funding. grades, Vereen said But it would help de- for the next fiscal year budget, he said. of a sexual nature," is strictly forbidden un- lates the policy will be disciplined or dis
"It's everybody's money, not just the termine whether there were "overlapping "A lot of counties arc going to want der the new policy. missed.
schools." Vereen said. "We can't just turn jobs and programs" and "unnecessary du- them, so we'll have to get in line," said Among the behaviors specifically pro- The drug-free workplace policy prohibits
over and pour it out in barrels. They tell us plication" of services in the school system. Vereen. hibited are "spoken or written abuse de- the illegal use. possession, distribution or
how much money they need, and we need It would also help administrators keep bet- Although he was unsure how much the meaning to an employee's sex, sexually ori- sale of controlled substances while an eni
to know where it's going." ter track of equipment, he said. county would have to pay for an audit, ented comments about an employee's ployee is at work or on stand-by duty. It al
Vereen said he recently met with State The county has never had an indepen- Verccn said the spending study in Wake body" and "showing or displaying an em- lows the county manager to request that an
Auditor Ralph Campbell Jr. and discussed dent analysis of school spending, said County costed "around $20,(XM)." ployee's name, address, telephone number employee submit to a drug test if the de
studies his office is conducting in three oth- Vereen. "I think this is something that's In another matter, the board voted unani- and or picture in a way which may be sexu- ($ee COUNTY, Pane 2-Al
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Thirty-Second Year, Number 1 7 ?1994 TMI BKUNSWICK BEACON Shallotte, North Carolina, Thursday, February 24, 1994 50<t Per Copy 36 Pages, 3 Sections, Plus Insert
At Work And Play
STAFF PHOTO BY ERIC CARLSON
While an early-season trawler works the waters off 11 olden licach, West Brunswick High School
. >rt Patrick McGow^n bruves the chilly Atlantic to enjoy Sunday's good surf.
DECISION MEANS SEPARATE TRIALS
Accused Shooter In Bolivia
'Gang' Murder Can Face
Death Penalty, Judge Rules
KY F.RIC CAR! SON rirruv we would have to call in 1.200 jurors."
Frank Ixnail Ford, the accused trigger man in what In Tuesday's hearing, requested by Ford's attorney
prosecutors say was a gang-style killing of a Bolivia Michael Ramos. Judge Brooks was asked to decide
man last November, will face the death penalty in his whether the slate has enough evidence of aggravating
first-degree murder trial later this year, a superior court circumstances to ask a jury for the death penalty. The
judge decided Tuesday. judge agreed with Gore that a jury might decide Davis
As a result of Judge Dexter Brooks' ruling, the state is was killed in the course of a kidnapping, which is one of
likely to seek the maximum punishment in four separate 11 such factors that can be considered in sentencing a
trialr, af the men charged with murdering 36-year-o!d ilcfenHani to hi* ?**ccutcd
Charles Wayne "Butch" Davis, District Attorney Rex Brunswick County Sheriff's Detective Charlie Miller
Gore said. testified that evidence gathered in the investigation sug
Six other suspects, most of them teenagers, have been gests Ford and the other defendants were waiting near
indicted for their alleged roles in the killing. Ford, 22, Davis's driveway on Albright Road when he arrived
will be the first one prosecuted, probably in late summer home on the night of Nov. 28.
or early fall. Gore said. Miller said that as the four men pulled Davis from his
If the judge had decided not to allow a jury to consid- car, he "tried to tell them everything was okay," then
er capital punishment. Gore said he would have sought broke free and ran.
to hold a single trial for the four murder suspects. But "One shot was fired and he kept running. A second
death-penalty trials put additional requirements on both shot was fired and Mr. Davis was hit in the back," Miller
the ptosecuiion and defense. said. "The autopsy indicated the gunshot was the cause
"Each side gets 14 challenges during jury selection in of death."
a capital case," Gore said. "To try all four at the same (See DEFENDANT, Page 2-A>
SEXUAL HARASSMENT BREACH OF CONTRACT CHARGED
Fired Chamber Exec Files New Lawsuit
A new lawsuit filed Monday charges that the
actions of the South Brunswick Islands Chamber
of Commerce and two of its former officers
"amounted to no less than attempts to force"
Mollis B. (Holly) Richards "into acts of prostitu
tion to keep her job."
Richards, who was executive vice president of
the chamber from July IWI until she was fired in
April 1992, reiterated the sexual harassment
charges stated in a lawsuit she dropped in
lebruary 1993. She has added claims charging
the chamber with breach of contract, and former
officers Annette Odom and Terry Barbee with
malicious interference of contract, fraud and mis
representation, and intentional infliction of emo
In September 1992, Richards filed a lawsuit al
leging she was fired "on account of her sex" and
was "subjected to sexual innuendo, suggestions,
advances and harassment" by Odom and Barbee.
At the time the first complaint was filed, Barbee
was the chamber president and Odom, its imme
diate past president.
The 20-page complaint, which remains essen
tially intact in the new lawsuit, claims Richards
was dismissed after she refused sexual advances
by the defendants and declined invitations to par
ticipate in "nude hot-tubbing" parties with cham
In a response to the first action. Odom and
Uarbee countered that Richards was fired for fail
ing to fuifiii her job duties and aiiegcu that she
"engaged in excessive drinking during times she
was supposed to be working" at the 1991 North
Carolina Oyster Festival, a chamber-sponsored
Odom and Barbee, represented by Winston
Salem attorney Michael Greeson Jr., last June
asked the court to order Richards to repay their
defense costs for filing a "frivolous" lawsuit con
taining allegations characterized as "scandalous
and without merit factually or legally."
On Feb. 1, 1993, Richards dropped the first
lawsuit. In filing the withdrawal her attorney,
William Shell of Wilmington, said his workload
made it impossible to carry the case forward at
that time, "but more importantly that information
had developed which would indicate additional
causes of actions which might be brought against
The four new claims for relief allege:
?thai the chamber breached its agreement with
Richards by "failing to provide its support in
managerial help and by instead acceding to the
demands of defendants Odom and Barbee, who
were working in order to terminate" Richards,
and by "depriving (Riciiaids) of iiei saiaiv ami
benefits due to her..."
Richards in both lawsuits admitted to lacking
managerial experience when hired to manage the
chamber's daily operations, but claims she was
promised "help and assistance" by members of
the chamber board of directors, as well as a
$1(),(MK) raise above her previous salary, a car al
lowance and periodic performance reviews with
chances for salary increases.
Before being hired here, Richards was em
ployed as secretary of the N.C. Association of
Chamber of Commerce Executives, and then as
legislative assistant for the N.C. Citizens for
Business and Industry.
?that Odom and Barbee "maliciously, wilfully
and wantonly interfered" with (Richards') contract
with the chamber, resulting in her termination.
(Set- FIRED, Page 2-A)
NURSE ACCUSED OF MISREADING TB TEST
Health Officials Trvina To Determine
Truth Of Former Employee's Charges
BY ERIC CARLSON resigned from the health department ing should be done.
Brunswick health officials are try- after she was passed over for a pro- Stewart told the board that a man
ing to determine whether to believe motion. came to the health department to
a report that a county nurse allowed According to board members who have a TB lest examined and had to
a patient who tested positive for tu- attended the closed session, Stewart wait for a considerable time before it
berculosis to leave without a more outlined a number of grievances could be examined, according to Pat
detailed examination or to dismiss it about health department operations Nutter, a nurse and health board
as an exaggerated claim of a dis- and accused a staff nurse of mis- member. Stewart allegedly told the
gruntled former employee. reading a tuberculosis (TB) skin test, board that as a licensed nurse she is
At its most recent meeting last The test involves an injection on qualified to read TB tests. However,
week, former community health as- the patient's forearm that must be she was not authorized to do so un
sistant Christine Stewart asked to examined 48 hours after it is admin- der her job description at the health
speak to the Brunswick County istered and again 24 hours later. A department.
Board of Health privately about "a redness or swelling around the injee- According to Nutter, Stewart told
personnel matter." Stewart recently tion point indicates that further test- (See HEALTH, Page 2-A)
STAFF PHOTO BY LYNN CARLSON
Man On A Mission
Tom Singleton of the Seaside area enlists a shopper entering a
Shallotte store to sign a petition urging the Brunswick County
Hoard of Commissioners to enact an ordinance forbidding exces
sive noise. Singleton has been gathering signatures throughout the
county and is asking citizens who agree with him to contact their
county commissioner or the county manager's office. The commis
sioners have discussed enacting an anti-noise law, but have not
drafted a proposal.
Authority Orientation Wednesday
Members of the South Brunswick Water & Sewer Authority were to
meet for an orientation and brief business session Wednesday, Feb. 23, at
7 p.m. at the Maples Clubhouse, Sea Trail Plantation.
Representatives of Piedmont Olsen Hensley, project engineers for the
towns of Sunset Beach and Calabash, were to conduct the orientation.
A memo from Project Director Joseph A. Tombro indicated that
along with authority members, elected officials of Calabash and Sunset
Beach and Brunswick County Engineer Robert Tucker were expected to
attend the meeting, which was also open to the public.
The engineers' briefing was to provide an overview of the sewer sys
tem project and its proposed financing, historical and legal background,
and the anticipated role of the various parties involved in the project.
Tombro also recommended the authority elect a chairperson, appoint
one person each from Calabash and Sunset Beach to serve as liaisons
with all elected officials, and schedule future meetings.
Sunset Wants To Se
HY SUSAN USIIKK
As an April 5 sewer bond referendum nears. Sunset
licach Town Council is making a concerted effort to get
a single, consistent message to voters.
id's iiasii iiiis ?.u'. so that when the phones ring ?/._?
ill give the same answer," suggested Councilman Herb
k I inker, .1 council liaison for the sewer project.
Ihe message: If voters decide to give the town the au
thority to issue up to $5 million in general obligations
lor construction of a sewer system, that doesn't mean
Ihe town must issue the bonds or intends to issue them.
nd Voters Uniform M
"I don't think anybody on this board would vote to is
sue general obligation bonds and raise the town tax
rate," Mayor Mason Barber said Tuesday afternoon at a
special council meeting called to clarify the wording of
a letter that will be by the town to potential vot
Council wanted to correct any confusion created by a
mailing from its bond counsel that was based on outdat
ed information, l h.it letter indicated the Town of Sunset
Bcach would be seeking financing for the sewer system,
but as of December that is no longer true. The applicant
essage On April 5 Bond Referendum
will he the quasi-governmental authority established to I"he letter won't address what will happen if the refer
operate the sewer system. eiulum fails, or if the authority doesn't obtain the state
Should the referendum pass, the South Brunswick loans it anticipates, or various other contingencies.
Water & Sewer Authority will be authorized to seek full Those questions will be addressed if and when the need
funding of $34.9 million for the sewer system, which is arises, council members agreed I'uesday.
expected to serve the Sunset Beach-Calabash area. "We're not trying to answer all the questions," said
Anticipated funds include a $3.X million loan from Councilman Herb Klin ker. who drafted the letter to be
the N.C. Slate Revolving lx>an l-'und and a $5 million mailed "There are a lot of good questions out there, but
N.C. Clean Water Bond l oan To cover the balance, the it would take an X- or 10-page letter to answer. And we
authority is expected to issue $2(>. 1 million in revenue don't know the answers to all of them."
bonds, which would be repaid through user fees. (See SUNSF.T, Page 2-A)