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Class Of *94
West, North and South 's
graduates are profiled in our
annual Special Section. D.
cashing in On Kings
A 51-DOunder wins the Sun Fun King
Mackerel Tourney, and Captain Jamie kills his
11 -pound jinx. Page
in It^HilH MK ft ?? u
I Lk ? a C a rfllfl
1 ninyr j>cono
Shonono, , Caroling, Thursday, June 9, 1994 50< P*r Copy 58 Pages, 5 Sections, Plus Inserts
Sate boating inspection
BMCSJJ}. Am*, CMtfsfVS. CsssSV Gmk isiand, chats wtth a group of Sunset Harbor
fishermen during m routine boanBng ami inspection in the Cape Fear River Monday afternoon. June
6-12 is Safe Boating Week, a time when the Coast Guard reminds mariners to inspect their vessels and
make sure all Itfe preservers, fire extinguishers, lights and other items of safety equipment are in good
working order. Pictured (from left) are Amdt, Seaman Galen Miles of Lynchburg, Ml, Jim TunstaU
and Doug Wheeler of Sunset Harbor and Petty Officer Elwyn Thompson cfMeeeheed City.
'COMMISSIONERS HAVE IMMUNITY'
1 Draft County Budget Asks
i Increased Fees/ Same Taxes
BY ERIC CARLSON
For the second time in two yean, customers of the
county water system will see a 10-percent increase in
ttesr w??cr bills if the couuty cuiuinissioocn adopt a
draft 1994-95 budget presented to them by temporary
county manager Charles McGinn Ls Monday night.
The proposed $43 million spending plan calls for a
county tax rate of 58.5 cents per $100 of property valua
tion, a reduction of 9.5 cents from the previous year. But
since most residents saw their property tax values in
creased by the recent countywide revaluation, most tax
payers should receive about the same tax bill for 1994 as
they did for 1993, McGinn is said.
In addition to the suggested water rata inciMi* *??
budget plan recommends that the telephone surcharge
for 911 service be doubled from 50 cents per month to
one dollar "to support the increased operational cost of
the Emergency Dispatch Center." McGinnis said.
The proposal also eliminates last year's balf-millkm
dotiar allocation to area fire districts and recommends
that the board appoint a committee to study the the pos
sibility of cfcszging foes for county iir?nu?n<T service.
A public hearing on the budget will bs held Monday,
June 13. at 7 p.m. in the public assembly building at the
county complex in Bolivia.
The budget as recommended reflects an average
growth over last year's budget approximating 4 percent
for the general fund and enterprise fund," McGinnis told
the board in his budget message.
McGinnis said he cut more than $18 million from the
budget requests submitted by county department heads,
which would have required a tax rate of 90.4 cents.
Of the 63 new employees requested, McGinnis rec
ommended the hiring of 26, including 14 "human re
sources" workers whose salaries are funded by the state
or federal government
Of the suggested new county positions, five would be
allocated to the new four-branch library system, while
one employee would be added to each of the departmen
tal staffs in planning, building maintenance, engineering.
mWir utiliftM wmmAttmi ? ""
? ? ? ? o j ??
graphic information services (GIS).
McGinnis suggested a 3- percent cost-of-living salary
increase for county employees, including the sheriff and
register of deeds. He recommended that seven existing
positions be cut from the budaet incturtinf six cafeteria
workers. The budget proposal recommends that the
county fry again to turn over its troubled food service
operation and its housekeeping services to private oom
As a cost-cutting measure last year, the county hired a
private company to handle is congregate meals pro
grams, then canceled the arrangement after patrons of
(See HEARING, Page 2-A)
Federal Judge Throws Out Former
Clerk's Lawsuit Against County
M? 1 ?w? ?? i I II 1 1 -
BY EftIC CARLSON
A federal judge has dismissed a racial dtacfimi
natkxi lawsuit filed against the county by Conner
Clerk to the County PAHiwiMMW? PT^rrr
Alexander, saying the board has "lfgislative im
munity" and cannot not be sued for cutting her
position from the county hnrisrt
The ruling will save the county the c?pcnac of
defending itself in an expected lengthy court bat
tle. It may also affect the outcome of a similar le
gal action filed last month by former County
Commissioner Pearly Yemen over the removal of
his county job from the same budget.
"I would say that the ruling absolutely bears
100 percent (on the Vereen lawsuit)," County
Attorney Michael Ramos said Monday. "If s the
law in this circuit Their claims are the same, ex
cept for the racial discrimination charge."
In strikingly similar language, both lawsuits
daim that Republicans on the county board used
their voting majority to eliminate the positions of
Alexander and Vereen, who are both Democrats,
from the county payroll.
Alexander also alleged that she was terminated
because she is Mack, while the commisaionets
who find her were white.
Using identical language, the lawsuits by
Alexander ?wt Vfenen daim that commissioners
KeUy Holden, Donald Shaw Md Jerry Jones "act
ed wantonly and maliciously and in knowing or
reckfeas disregard for plaintiffs rights." Both
suits likewise allege that "the reason publidy ar
ticulated by the board of plaintiff's non
pointraeot wss i pyrfrxt for thi> unlawful dMcnm*
Alexander wis i coaly employee for move
than 16 years. She had been clerk to the board for
"/ would say that the ruling
percent (on the Vereen
t WtmJL. -I _ ?
HirrjHw/. a ine raw i/i muf
circuit Their claims are the
same, except for the racial
? County Attorney Michael Ramos
over 10 yean when her paid position was written
oat of the 1991-92 county budget. At the time,
Board Chairman Hotden said Alexander was one
of more than 20 worker* whoae jobs were elimi
nated during a reduction in force unplcniculod " to
help balance the budget"
Also eliminated from the county payroll by the
Republican board waa the portion of "awwtant
operations services director,** a job created by an
earlier Democrat-dominated board after Vereen
rtnclinrd to seek re-election to hit county oom
mise inner seat Vereen waa named to the position
in August 1966.
Alexander filed her federal lawsuit in January
1993 asking that she be re-hired and paid back
wages, benefits and interest on the money she
would have received. Her suit also sought puni
tive rtamagrs, court coats and legal fees. Vereen
court lawsuit fifed May 2.
la a colorfully worded 11-page review of the
Alexander cue, U.S. District Judge Junes C Fox
overturned ? federal magistrate's "Memorandum
and Recommendation (MAR)" ruling that the
oTuoiwka Cuuuty iVimmiiiwVif ia www uui aSur
mane from liability when they eliminated the
clerk's salary from the budget.
C? X I *?? a. .. a. . ? ?
been iiwndud with a "cavalcade of briefs and
memoranda which have overwhelmed the pend
ing coune of this litigation " He went on to say
that of all tlwtf itwimwi*' the "defendants' brief
in opposition to the MAR has thoroughly and ac
curately encapsulated the court's own indepeo
" Having conducted an exhaustive (and ex
hausting) review at all atguinr.nH presented?the
court concludes that legislative immunity bars
PffTnTiTT s reociai in iDc it ennray.
Citing several previous rulings by other federal
courts, Fox said the county firmmwitrmrn acted
within their rights as a elected officials when they
AUwrnHw't pin itiffn
"The action of the Brunswick County
Jlf al? ?? ? ? a ? n f m
I XiIyiTM * S^fOilv T % OI ciiniiyfMiftjf lUfC SalaTy OI IQC
clerk to the board was uniquely legislative in na
ture. ..incident jo the board's consideration and
of | budget ordinance," the jiirfgr
wrote. "Such discretionary action fells squarely
" the political decision muring authority
Fox asaerted that the doctrine of legislative im
munity is at cess sty in order to maintain the
Constitutional separation of powers between law
? frcss the har
dens of subjecting their dtscretioosry derision
(SwJUDGE, Pag* 2-A)
Child Critical After Fall From Beach Cottage Window
A 3-year-old Indian boy was Hated in critical
? i ? llal n m V v ? ? ? J - ?a ni!i? ? a ^
CO? Oi luesoay a a Wilmington nospiuu aner
falling from a top-floor window Monday at0* at
??-i -a ** - - - ?-?
The ynitegplH, Brian llagfctianH. waa naked
to New Hanover Regional Medical Canter fol
lowing the accident, which oucnued around 836
p.m. Monday at a rental home at 389 Ooean Blvd.
Hoiden Beach Police Chief Robot Cook said
the boy fell oat of the top-floor window of the el
evated beach boaae and landed on his bead oa the
concrete driveway below.
S^ m m n iim li ? ? a ? ? ? ... atl
immeoxKeiy sixer mc acciocflt, uxcrc wis
swefliag an die Ml fll de of Hugbbaafcs' head and
the boy bad tronble breathing, arinnMag to
Officer Dexter Latham's report.
"Evidently he'a a very bnd shape," Cook said
Theaday. "He was oa life sapport, and they really
-- .j!- a L a? at - - VP
wtreo i expecting nim to live.
Allan Dameron of Alan Hotden Realty, the
company that ?pi the rental home, said the
boy was visiting the Ifiurtt of the oce? from cot
tage. The tenants are from Kentucky.
Dameron said he quite with friends of the
boy's family Theaday afternoon at the
"The people I spoke with said it did not look
pood at all," Dameron said. "It's tragic. Yon go
on vacation to try to relax and for something like
rtik to hsppen..."
County's Top Teacher
Brunswick County's new Teacher of the Year is
Cmsuey Heaiy (right) of ShmBotte Point, ? HmUtgmt
Union Eh m tutu j School end a grn iuwtw of Wat Brunswick High
School. Runner up for the county tide wms Jerry W. Smith, nmket
South Brunswick High. Henly, pictured with her
Zetfhin Grissett, witt wp?? t Btunswkk County edn
du ring the coming year, for Souti
$1,000 cash award from Ua
School Board Delays Meeting
To Attend County's Hearing
A Jane 13 mrcting of the Brant
wick County Board of Education
hat been delayed a day ao that mem
bcrs ^ ?***? sssy -n-' 1? rv ccuuty
The school board will meet in
stead Tuesday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m.
in the boaid oooferenoe room in
1 don't know what the board will
do," aaid Superintendent of Schools
Ralph Inhaatna "We're going to try
to plead our caae. I knew it was go
ing to be a touch taak for them
With the $9 million allocation
proposed by county management,
the schools would receive a 4 per
cent increase over this year'* sup
port of the schools, but substantial
ly ? $4.7 million ? less than the total
?n to ? :??: ? ? < <mm
IIMIIW ? lUfMNU Ml IJj |
County management has recom
mended allocating $8.76 million Cor
day-to-day school operations, which
means the school board would have
to cut $25 million from its proposed
$11.28 millioii operatiag budget.
Should the stale legislature past the
percent pay niif I DC North
Carolina Association of Educators
has proposed, and ttrnhh can and
energy ousts go up, said Johnston,
"our 4 percent would be pretty well
used op right there."
Without rutting into f listing pro
(St* COUNTY, Page 2-A)
Mini-Golf Proposal Sparks Hot-Tempered Debate
BY SUSAN USHER
A m% change proposal to allow imma
ture fotf as a special use oa the island at
Sonaet Beach triggered heated debate Monday
that fbaod Mayor Pro ten Ed Gore publicly
jsing a derogatory tens to describe a former
The tone of the stroagiy -opiaioaatrd ex
?- - - - - tnnif!, ,t m a a -;??,??? -?
cnangc lyptnea Monaay nignt t inrec-Bour
?waiting (See related atoriea elsewhere ia this
After reviewing a proposal by Sanset Beach
A TVin Lakes Inc., the town's planning board
had recommended allowing the use on the is
land the ??"? strict standards estab
lished earlier for mmiatore golf in the main
land business district. If properly designed and
maintained, die board believes a coarse would
be compatible with die family -oriealed resort
community, advised Chairman Richard Good
Councilman 1 lerb KJ inker questioocd the
proposal oa several gronndh. and called far the
public hearing to be set far ia advance and an
a Saturday, ia a break with past town practice,
to allow greater oval and written inpttt from af
fected property owners.
A motion by Cooncitwoman Cherri Cheek
to hold the hearing at a June 20 coundl meet
ing was already on the floor, beyond the point
of withdrawal. It passed oa a 3-2 vole, with
K1 inker sad Cheek, who had cipreasud a will
ingness to delay the hearing until the board's
Aug. I meeting, ia the minority.
Near the dose of the meeting, her motion
for reconsideration. guided by town attorney
Mike Isenberg. pained unanimously. It waa
spurred in part by a first-tune council meeting
attendee who said the fint vole appeared to
confirm comment* he'd heard that council
-isn't taking the island seriously."
"1 don't want yon to think the town council
doesn't care far the island. It is moat important
to this town," Cheek told him.
The hearing will be held at the Aug. 1 meet
ing. with an explanation of the special uae re
quirements to be included in the next property
Among other fimditiiTna. the "Hilton Head
style" miniature golf links would not be al
lowed to hnvn flashing lights, features that
emit motu. or steam or any inimlnd chanc
. - . __ I, I,. : A-!,. ?;#- - - 1' *- ?
rcis or amniatt. uiuy uie-size itpucM or duus
and animals inrttgrnma to the area would be
?Clinker suitability of the courae
location, on the right side of Sunset Boulevard
as om awimlica North Shorn Drive, near
residential horncsitca, and ih cooapetibiiity
with the town's land uae plan and zoning phi
In a property owner larvey conducted te
the 1992 land nae plan update, he irmimhul
fellow council members, moat raapowkali did
not want tether commercial development on
the island, but did want parka and natural ar
" We need to seriously rowidw this,** he