STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA                   )                    OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONERS

                                                                        )                    STOKES COUNTY GOVERNMENT

COUNTY OF STOKES                                  )                    DANBURY, NORTH CAROLINA

                                                                        )                    AUGUST 22, 2005

 

 

The Board of Commissioners of the County of Stokes, State of North Carolina, met for regular session in the Commissioners’ Chambers of the Ronald Wilson Reagan Memorial Building (Administrative Building) located in Danbury, North Carolina on Monday, August 22, 2005 at 7:00 pm with the following members present:

 

                                                Chairman John Turpin

                                                                Vice-Chairman Leon Inman

Commissioner Sandy McHugh

Commissioner Joe Turpin

                                                                Commissioner Jimmy Walker

 

                                                                County Personnel in Attendance:

County Manager Richard Morris

County Attorney Jonathan Jordan

                                                                Clerk to the Board Darlene Bullins

                                                                Finance Director Julia Edwards

                                                                Jail Captain Craig Carico

                                Tax Administrator Wren Carmichael

                                                               

Chairman John Turpin called the meeting to order.

               

Vice Chairman Inman delivered the invocation.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT-GOVERNING BODY-PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

Chairman John Turpin opened the meeting by inviting the citizens in attendance to join the Board with the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT –GOVERNING BODY-APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Chairman John Turpin entertained a motion to approve or amend the minutes of August 1st, August 2nd, and August 8th meetings.

 

Commissioner McHugh requested the following addition to the August 8th minutes:

 

(Commissioner McHugh also read the following):

 

                In the minutes of the August 8, 2005 meeting on page 25 in the 3rd to last paragraph Vice Chairman Inman made an accusation against me for the record.  He said that I denied a request to move an overcrowded meeting in June of 2003 in violation of the open meetings law.

 

After the checking the minutes from the meetings in June of 2003 I discovered that we had 10 meetings that month.

The first meeting was a regular (Planning) meeting which was not overcrowded.

The next 2 were recessed budget meetings that were not overcrowded.

The next regular meeting was the budget hearing that was held in the large courtroom and arrangements were made ahead of time to facilitate all members of the public who wished to speak.

After the hearing the meeting was recessed to convene in the commissioners meeting room to conduct the regular meeting that was not overcrowded.

The next 3 meetings were recessed budget meetings that were not overcrowded.

The next regular meeting of June 23rd there was a record crowd.

A motion was made to move the meeting to a larger facility.  There was a second.  As I recall there was discussion in which David M. Lawrence who wrote the book on the Open Meetings Law was quoted as saying “The law says nothing about the size of meeting rooms.  As long as a public body does not consistently meet in a room too small to hold all who wish to attend, there should be no violation of the law if occasionally an unexpectedly large crowd causes the room to be too small.  There was also discussion on the difficulty involved in moving the meeting given that no arrangements had been made to have the courthouse or courtroom open or set up.  The motion was voted on and failed.

Hence, the Board of Commissioners made the decision to not move the meeting.

The next 2 meetings were recessed budget meetings that were not overcrowded.

 

Commissioner McHugh moved to approve the minutes of August 1st, August 2nd, and August 8th as amended.   Commissioner Joe Turpin seconded the motion.

 

Chairman John Turpin requested the Clerk to make each Commissioner a copy of the statement that Commissioner McHugh had read.

 

Commissioner Joe Turpin questioned if an addition could be added to the minutes if it was not said.  County Attorney Jonathan Jordan stated the addition could be added to either the minutes of August 8th or August 22nd.   Commissioner McHugh requested the addition be added after the following statement in the minutes of August 8th: 

 

“Commissioner McHugh responded that if she did so that, then she was guilty”.

 

Vice Chairman Inman stated to Chairman John Turpin that he stands by the statement he made whatever is added.

 

After discussion of the statements by Commissioner McHugh and Vice Chairman Inman being their opinion and which set of minutes the addition should be added to, the vote carried (4-1) with Vice Chairman Inman voting against the motion.

 

PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

Sam Hill

1247 Hill Road

King, NC  27021

RE:  Removal of Health Board Member

 

Mr. Hill presented the Board with a copy of the statement that he read.  Mr. Hill spoke on behalf of Dr. Kevin Walker who had been notified by letter that the Board of Commissioners would be considering his removal from the Board of Health.  Mr. Hill’s statement contained information and questions concerning the recent article in the Winston Salem Journal of August 5th quoting Dr.Walker, the irregularities of the August 3rd Board of Health meeting, the August 3rd meeting never officially taking place, and the service given by Dr. Kevin Walker to this county and its citizens. 

 

(a copy of the statement is on file in the Clerk’s office)

 

Raymond Key

PO Box 1776

King, NC  27021

RE:  Removal of Health Board Member

 

Mr. Key agreed with Mr. Hill’s comments.  Mr. Key spoke on behalf of Dr. Kevin Walker’s

character.  Mr. Key noted how respected Dr. Walker was in the community, the freedom of speech to express an opinion, and the mistake being made to even consider the removal of Dr. Walker from the Board of Health.

 

Ron Carroll

PO Box 588

King, NC  27021

RE:  Board of Health

 

Mr. Carroll commented on the removal of Dr. Chalfa for the violations of the open meetings

law.  Mr. Carroll stated that the violations in questioned were opinions and a court of law should determine if allegations were violations of the open meetings law. Mr. Carroll questioned the Board’s action of not filing suit in Superior Court, allowing a judge to legally determine if the open meetings law had been violated, and determining the penalty to be imposed.  Mr. Carroll spoke on the term “disrepute”.  Mr. Carroll requested the Board correct their mistake at tonight’s meeting.

 

Fredricka Cecile

1741 Marshall Smith Road

King, NC 27021

RE:  Health Board

 

Ms. Cecile expressed her concerns over the removal of Dr. Chalfa.  Ms. Cecile referred to the letter to the editor in the Stokes News from Rebecca Chalfa stating what Dr. Chalfa had done for public heath in Stokes County.  Ms. Cecile noted the dismissal of Health Director Don Moore, G.S. 130A-35(g)(5), removal of Sandy McHugh from the Health Board, and actions taken that have hurt Stokes County.  Mr. Cecile requested the Board “make peace” of this situation.

 

Martin Page

1240 Dodson Ridge Road

Walnut Cove, NC  27052

RE:  Board of Health

 

Mr. Page read a letter from Dr. Debbie Cowan concerning the Board of Health.

Dr. Cowan requested that no further cuts be made from the Board of Health and that the

Board of Commissioners set a date very soon to meet with Board of Health members to discuss the recent actions taken.  Dr. Cowan requested that the Commissioner serving on the Board be rotated yearly and also requested the reinstatement of Dr. Chalfa to the Board of Health.

 

Jerry S. Mitchell

1274 Greenfield Road

Walnut Cove, NC  27052

RE:  Board of Health

 

Mr. Mitchell questioned allegations of rules/procedures, ethics, and/or statute violations of

Board of Health and Commissioners’ meetings.  Mr. Mitchell requested that these actions

of these meetings and past commissioner violations be investigated with the same vigor as the August 3rd Board of Health meeting, Commissioners hold themselves to at least the

standards that you hold private citizens who serve the County as volunteers, and Commissioner McHugh be removed from the Board of Health.  Mr. Mitchell also commented on the allegation of the open meetings law violation of the June 23, 2003 meeting of the Board of Commissioners.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT – TAX ADMINISTRATION REPORT

 

Tax Administrator Wren Carmichael presented the following Real and Personal Property Releases in the amount of $2,872.17:

 

·         Reuben J Webb                                               $45.85

·         Ronald  E Welch                               $21.40

·         Jamie Brian Lawson                          $8.00

·         Doug N Woods                                 $191.18

·         Doug N Woods                                 $188.51

·         Donna B Fulp                                     $475.80

·         Michael O Oleary                              $26.78

·         Walter Lee Southern                        $137.12

·         Kwik Wash Inc #2                              $29.80

·         The Weight To Go                           $19.84

·         Delma Stuart                                      $131.29

·         Bryant H Smith                                   $721.16

·         Joe A Wagoner                                 $132.06

·         David W Jones                                 $50.90

·         James R Bolton                                                $81.70  

DBA Creative Woodworks

·         Stokes County                                   $87.00

·         James W Hill                                      $65.41

·         Royce L Vaden                                 $320.30

·         William H Brown                                 $138.07

 

Commissioner Joe Turpin moved to approve the submitted Real and Personal Property Releases in the amount of $2,872.17.   Vice Chairman Inman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT – CLOSED SESSION

 

 Chairman John Turpin requested that Closed Session be entered into the agenda early due to visitors being from out of town.

 

Chairman John Turpin entertained a motion to enter into closed session for the following:

 

·         To consult with the Attorney employed or retained by the Public Body in order to preserve the attorney-client privilege between the Attorney and the Public Body, which privilege is hereby acknowledged, and to consider and give instructions to an attorney concerning the handing or settlement of a claim, judicial action, mediation, arbitration, or administration procedure pursuant to G.S. 143-318.11(3).

·         To discuss matters relating to the location or expansion of industries or other businesses in the County pursuant to G.S. 143-318.11(4).

 

        Commissioner McHugh moved to enter into closed session for the following:

 

·         To consult with the Attorney employed or retained by the Public Body in order to preserve the attorney-client privilege between the Attorney and the Public Body, which privilege is hereby acknowledged, and to consider and give instructions to an attorney concerning the handing or settlement of a claim, judicial action, mediation, arbitration, or administration procedure pursuant to G.S. 143-318.11(3).

·         To discuss matters relating to the location or expansion of industries or other businesses in the County pursuant to G.S. 143-318.11(4).

 

Commissioner Joe Turpin seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

 

 

The Board re-entered into the regular session of the August 22nd meeting.

 

Chairman John Turpin stated to those in attendance that no action is allowed in closed session and to his knowledge there is no requirement by general statutes to announce that there is no action to be taken after a closed session. 

 

County Attorney Jonathan Jordan stated that he was not aware of any requirement for the Chair to announce that there was no action to be taken after a closed session.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT – JAIL- JAIL MEDICAL CONTRACT –STOKES REYNOLDS MEMORIAL HOSPITAL-PROPOSED AMENDMENT

 

County Manager Rick Morris explained the proposed amendment to the current jail contract for jail medical services provided by Stokes Reynolds Memorial Hospital was to align the contract with the County and the hospital’s fiscal year budgets. 

 

Manager Morris presented a timeline pertaining to the $15,000 cost pool and the terms/cost of the current contract.  By adopting the amendment, the County will save approximately $40,000 (over the three-year period) with termination of the contract six months early (June 30, 2007).

 

The Board discussed the pros and cons of the amendment to the original contract. Jail Captain Craig Carico noted that Stokes Reynolds had been meeting the needs of the jail and was pleased with the service being provided by Stokes Reynolds.

 

Chairman John Turpin entertained a motion to approve the Jail Medical Contract Amendment with Stokes Reynolds Memorial Hospital.

 

Vice Chairman Inman moved to approve the Jail Medical Contract Amendment with Stokes Reynolds Memorial Hospital. 

 

Commissioner Joe Turpin seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

 

(a copy of the amendment will be retained by the Clerk to the Board,County Attorney, and Jail Captain)

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT – ADMINISTRATION – PROPOSED 2005/06 CENTERPOINT PERFORMANCE AGREEMENT

 

County Manager Rick Morris presented the proposed 2005/06 CenterPoint Performance Agreement for the Board’s consideration.

 

County Manager Morris requested Vice Chairman Inman who serves on the CenterPoint Board of Directors to explain one issue with the agreement.

 

Vice Chairman Inman noted that the Board of Directors expressed concerns with the 30-day termination clause, which could hardships in the services due to transitions taking more than 30 days.  

 

Vice Chairman Inman stated that the CenterPoint Board respectfully asked to revise the 30-day termination clause to 90 days.

 

Manager Morris noted that there was no problem with revising the termination clause to 90 days.    

 

Vice Chairman Inman also noted that information received from CEO Betty Taylor that with the recent transition, there will be (4) mental health providers in Stokes County instead of (1).

 

Chairman John Turpin entertained a motion to accept the proposed 2005-06 CenterPoint Agreement with the 90-day termination clause modification.

 

Vice Chairman Inman moved to approve the 2005-06 CenterPoint Agreement with the 90-day termination clause modification. 

 

Commissioner McHugh seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT- PLANNING BOARD – APPOINTMENT – QUAKER GAP TOWNSHIP

 

Chairman John Turpin presented the Planning Board – Quaker Gap Township vacancy to the Board. 

 

There were no nominations.

 

Chairman John Turpin requested the Clerk to place the vacancy on the County’s website.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT – JURY COMMISSION- RE-APPOINTMENT

 

Chairman John Turpin entertained a motion to re-appoint Lynwood Shelton who was nominated at the August 8th meeting for appointment to the Jury Commission.

 

Commissioner Joe Turpin moved to re-appoint Lynwood Shelton to serve on the Jury Commission. 

 

Commissioner McHugh seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT – STOKES COUNTY/FORSYTH TECH ADVISORY COUNCIL - APPOINTMENTS

 

County Manager Rick Morris presented the Board with the following individuals who were nominated at the August 8th meeting and the at-large appointees for consideration:

 

Nominated at the August 8th meeting

·         City of King – Scott Buffkin

·         Town of Danbury – Rebecca Chalfa

·         Town of Walnut Cove – Dana Dalton

·         Forsyth Tech Stokes County Campus- Interim Director Deana Ray

·         Economic Development Director Ron Morgan

·         Stokes Schools – Dr. Larry Cartner

·         Commissioner Jimmy Walker

·         Vice Chairman Leon Inman

 

At Large Appointees for consideration:

o        Sam Hill, King, NC

o        Worth Hampton, King, NC

o        Michael O. Hartley, King, NC

o        Waynona T. Sands- Lawsonville, NC

 

Manager Morris noted that a Public Notice had been placed in the Stokes News August 12th and August 19th for the (4) at-large members to represent the northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest areas of the County. 

 

Ms. Phyllis Tuttle of the Walnut Cove area had responded to the Public Notice. 

 

Manager Morris noted that all but the at-large members could be appointed in order to establish the council with the

at-large members being appointed at a later date.

 

Chairman John Turpin entertained a motion to appoint the following that were nominated at the August 8th meeting to serve on the Stokes County/Forsyth Tech Advisory Council:

 

·         City of King – Scott Buffkin

·         Town of Danbury – Rebecca Chalfa

·         Town of Walnut Cove – Dana Dalton

·         Forsyth Tech Stokes County Campus- Interim Director Deana Ray

·         Economic Development Director Ron Morgan

·         Stokes Schools – Dr. Larry Cartner

·         Commissioner Jimmy Walker

·         Vice Chairman Leon Inman

               

Commissioner Walker moved to appoint the following to serve on the Stokes County/Forsyth Tech Advisory Council:

 

·         City of King – Scott Buffkin

·         Town of Danbury – Rebecca Chalfa

·         Town of Walnut Cove – Dana Dalton

·         Forsyth Tech Stokes County Campus- Interim Director Deana Ray

·         Economic Development Director Ron Morgan

·         Stokes Schools – Dr. Larry Cartner

·         Commissioner Jimmy Walker

·         Vice Chairman Leon Inman

 

Vice Chairman Inman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

 

The (4) at-large appointments to represent the northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest areas of the County can be considered at a later date. 

 

Vice Chairman Inman requested that Ms. Phyllis Tuttle be added to the list for consideration.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT – STOKES REYNOLDS HOSPITAL – SUBSIDENCE OF PAVEMENT AND OTHER STRUCTURES AT THE REAR OF THE FACILITY

 

County Manager Rick Morris presented Board members with a copy of the report submitted by Cavanaugh & Associates detailing the findings from the recent investigation utilizing Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to search out subsurface features that might be linked to the observed conditions.

 

Manager Morris noted that the basic conclusion was a tank had been removed and the soil had not been properly tamped after removal.  Additional core samples would be needed to confirm this conclusion.  Manager Morris recommended that low cost measures to re-route the rain water away from the area and baseline the crack with observation for

expansion be done before additional core samples.  Manager Morris also noted that additional exploration could be done by county personnel.

 

Commissioner Walker requested that Manager Morris consult with Cavanaugh to determine a risk factor with his recommendations and/or any other suggestion to improve the recommendation.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT –STOKES REYNOLDS MEMORIAL HOSPITAL-ASBESTOS

 

County Manager Rick Morris updated the Board that the current Asbestos Project at Stokes Reynolds Memorial Hospital was completed. 

 

Manager Morris requested the Board consider re-wrapping the pipes where the asbestos had been removed. 

 

Stokes Reynolds officials feel that the pipes need to be re-wrapped of avoid pipes freezing and damage to the flooring.

 

Chairman John Turpin requested Manager Morris investigate further the need for the re-wrapping of the pipes and cost.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT- SCOTT BRANCH PROJECT

 

Manager Rick Morris noted that bids for the Scott Branch Project had been advertised with solid requirements submitted by Moorefield Engineering and bids should be presented at the next meeting.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT- PROPOSED CINGULAR CELL TOWERS

 

Manager Rick Morris noted that County Attorney Jonathan Jordan was in the process of reviewing a proposed contract for a possible cell tower at the old prison camp.

 

Manager Rick Morris noted that a meeting with David Sudderth, Cingular representative, and himself would be scheduled for discussion for a possible cell tower at the old prison camp if there was no opposition from the Board with information being presented later for the Board’s consideration.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT – STOKES SCHOOLS 2005-06 CAPITAL OUTLAY

BUDGET

           

Manager Rick Morris requested the Board’s approval for the following 2005-06 Public School Capital Fund Projects that was approved in the 05/06 Capital Outlay Budget:

 

·         Technology -$300,000

·         Roofing – North Stokes High - Industrial Arts Shop Building- $60,000

·         Roofing – North Stokes High - “A” Building & Gym - $30,000

·         Roofing – South Stokes High - Main Gym – $130,000

·         Roofing – Pine Hall Elementary – Cafeteria - $50,000

·         Roofing – Sandy Ridge Elementary – Gym -$80,000

·         Roofing – Southeastern Middle School – “A” Building- $50,000

 

Commissioner Joe Turpin requested that the County request a list from Stokes County Board of Education -Schools detailing all school buildings that are in need of roofing repairs.

 

Chairman John Turpin entertained a motion to approve the submitted 2005-06 Public School Capital Fund Projects that was approved in the 05/06 Capital Outlay Budget.

 

Vice Chairman Inman moved to approve the submitted 2005-06 Public School Capital Fund Projects that was approved in the 05/06 Capital Outlay Budget. 

 

Commissioner McHugh seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT – TOWN OF DANBURY – REMOVAL OF CEDAR

CHRISTMAS TREE

 

County Manager Rick Morris presented information to the Board concerning the removal of the Cedar Christmas Tree located in the front yard of the Old Courthouse.

 

The tree had been trimmed due to electrical lines and the Town had recently been notified that additional trimming was needed or removal of the tree.

 

The Town of Danbury had voted to remove the tree.

 

The Board discussed the removal of the tree and its historic/sentimental value to the community.

 

Chairman John Turpin entertained a motion to approve the removal of the Cedar Christmas Tree.

 

Vice Chairman Inman moved to approve the removal of the Cedar Christmas Tree.

 

Chairman John Turpin seconded and the motion carried 4-1 with Commissioner Joe Turpin voting against the motion.

 

Manager Morris noted that Duke Power would be paying for all costs associated with the removal of the tree.

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT – BOARD OF HEALTH – REMOVAL OF BOARD OF

HEALTH MEMBER

 

Vice Chairman Inman presented Board Members with an opinion from Frayda Bluestein-Professor of Public Law and Government and Aimee Wall – Assistant Professor of Public Law and Government – UNC School of Government concerning the Remedies for the Violations of State Open Meetings Law.

 

Vice Chairman Inman read the following response which questioned the following: “If the Stokes County Board of Health took action at a meeting that was conducted in violation of the open meetings law, what is the status of that action? Is

the action automatically null and void?”

 

We believe that the action is valid until a court has declared the action null and void. G.S. §§ 143-318.16 and 143-318.16A specify the remedies that, are available when a person believes that a public body has violated the open meetings laws. The person may go to court to seek a declaratory judgment or an injunction. Alternatively, he or she may seek a court order invalidating an action taken by the body. The statute sets out a list of factors for the court to consider when determining whether an action should be declared null and void, including:

• The extent to which the violation affected the substance of the challenged  

   action;

• The extent to which the violation thwarted or impaired access to meeting or proceedings that the public had a right to attend;

• The extent to which the violation prevented or impaired public knowledge or understanding of the people's business;

• Whether the violation was an isolated occurrence, or was a part of a continuing pattern of violations;

• The extent to which persons relied upon the validity of the challenged action and the effect on such persons of declaring the challenged action void;

• Whether the violation was committed in bad faith for the purpose of evading or 

   subverting the public policy of the open meetings law.

G.S. § 143-3 l8.16A(c)(l)-(6). Given that the court must evaluate all of these factors before an action is invalidated, it seems clear that such actions are not automatically null and void if the law is violated. For a full discussion of the remedies available for violations of the open meetings law, see David M. Lawrence, Open Meetings and Local Governments in North Carolina: Some Questions and Answers. 6'h ed. (Institute of Government, 2002).

Based on our various conversations with individuals involved in the current controversy, all appear to agree that the secret ballot vote taken at the August 3 board of health meeting was in violation of the open meetings law (specifically G.S. § 143-317.13(b)). While we do not believe the action taken during that meeting (dismissal of the health director) is automatically null and void, we have recommended at several points along the way that the Board of Health take steps to cure the violation or ratify the action by holding another meeting and taking another vote.

 

Vice Chairman Inman reiterated his position that this issue should have been returned to Board of Health when Chairman Chalfa did not have the secret votes signed.

 

Vice Chairman Inman moved that the Board of Commissioners nullify its motion and reinstate Dr. Chalfa (if he would consider) to the Board of Health. 

 

Commissioner Walker seconded  and the motion failed 2-3 with Chairman John Turpin, Commissioner McHugh,

and Commissioner Joe Turpin voting against the motion.

 

Chairman John Turpin read the following from the letter sent to Dr. Kevin Walker-Board of Health Member for consideration at the August 22nd meeting for removal from the Stokes County Board of Health:

 

According to G.S. 130A-35(g)(5), a board of health member may be removed from office by the county board of commissioners for conduct that tends to bring the office into disrepute.

 

It has been brought to my attention that in an interview with the Winston-Salem Journal published in the August 5, 2005 edition regarding the Board of Health action designed to terminate the health director, you said “My sister worked for the health department, and she had some conflict with the health department. Really, due to the conflict of interest, I try to stay out of discussing it.” The article then states “But Walker said he did vote to fire Moore.” Previously the article stated “Board member Kevin Walker, an optometrist in King, made the motion during Wednesday night’s meeting.”

 

                Dr. Kevin Walker responded to the allegation by stating the following:

 

·         Member of Board of Health for nine years

·         Frivolous charges and accusations will not cease until I am gone

·         Nothing I say will make any difference, minds are already made up

·         Need for Dr. Nick Chalfa and other volunteers to serve the County

·         Serving solely on passion and desire to fulfill health needs of Stokes County

·         Deeply sadden that the autonomy of this Board has been striped due

to the political agendas of certain people

·         Possible Resolution -Removal of Commissioner McHugh from the Board of Health -Other Health Board Members and private citizens share this sentiment as well

·         General Public becoming aware of the political relationship that three of our

County Commissioners have with each other as well as their relationship

with the County Manager, County Attorney, Health Director and other

prominent figures

·         Major restructure with the 2006 election

 

Dr. Walker concluded with his best wishes to the Health Department and all other county entities.

 

Chairman John Turpin questioned Dr. Walker if Health Director Don Moore was given an opportunity to respond to the allegations against him before his removal.  Dr. Walker responded that he had missed several meetings due to illness with a child and stated he could not answer the question with 100% certainty.  To his knowledge and not speaking

for any other Board of Health member, he was not aware of any attempt.

 

Commissioner Joe Turpin requested the full definition of “disrepute” and would a newspaper article be considered as a public record.  

 

County Attorney Jordan confirmed that a newspaper article would be considered a public record. 

 

Commissioner Joe Turpin questioned  Dr. Walker pertaining to the issue of a possible “conflict of interest” as stated in

the article pertaining to nepotism. 

 

Dr. Walker stated that his understanding of a “conflict of interest” pertains to a monetary value and there was no monetary value in this situation. 

 

Dr. Walker redirected the question, by asking the Board members if they were aware of any advantage gained by his sister with his position or seen him do any action that has benefited her in the Health Department.

 

Chairman John Turpin noted that he had not been approached by any Health Board member or the general public concerning the Health Director or his performance.

 

Dr. Walker stated that he had intentionally, purposefully distanced himself from his sister’s situation as he knew his father has in his situation.  Dr. Walker stated that he felt like this was a political ploy bringing this into the situation.  Dr. Walker stated that he felt the quotes were not accurate in the paper and that he had also stated this to his father-Commissioner Walker.

 

Commissioner Jimmy Walker stated the following:  Pertaining to Dr. Walker, my daughter and myself, we don’t asked for quarter, we don’t give quarter when it comes to nepotism, buddyism, cronyism, or political ploys, we are not into games.  I cannot discriminate, will not, have not (fifth term as elected official) and I have never to my knowledge discriminated for someone because of family reasons nor will I discriminate against them because they happen to be family. 

 

Commissioner Walker also questioned if there was a conflict with his daughter and if so, he would like to know what it is.

 

Commissioner McHugh stated that these things all have to do with personnel issues that the Board of Commissioners cannot discuss and there is no way anyone can prove that there is a conflict of interest because it has to do with personnel issues.

 

Commissioner Joe Turpin questioned Commissioner Walker because of the appearance of nepotism, should he remove himself from this issue.  Commissioner Walker stated that there is no monetary involvement and he could do no less for his daughter than he would do for any other citizen and he would absolutely do no more.  His intentions are to do no less.

 

Chairman John Turpin questioned Dr. Walker if he would like to state what he actually said to the paper.  Dr. Walker expressed his appreciation, but with that being over two weeks ago he would not even attempt to try remember what was said, but he was sure that it was not exactly what he said.

 

Dr. Walker presented Board members with a statement from a concerned citizen.

 

County Attorney Jonathan Jordan presented the Board with the requested information pertaining to the meaning of “disrepute”.

 

The Board continued discussion of personnel issues pertaining to Health Department employees and the availability to the Board of Commissioners, conflict of interest, meaning of “disrepute”. 

 

Commissioner Walker requested a meeting with Health Director Don Moore.

 

Commissioner Joe Turpin moved to table this issue to the next meeting-September 12th. 

 

Commissioner McHugh seconded the motion. 

 

Commissioner Walker expressed his concerns with this being the second consecutive meeting requesting Dr. Walker’s attendance and now requesting a third. 

 

Commissioner Walker also expressed his concerns that this was interfering with his job as County Commissioner that the people had elected him to do due to all the clutter, confusion, frustration, and embarrassment that is being brought to this

County.  This issue needs to be settled one way or the other in order to allow this Board to take the County in good directions and move forward.

 

Vice Chairman Inman noted that Stokes County was making headlines from “Murphy to Manteo” and not in a positive way.

 

Vice Chairman Inman also reiterated that the Board of Health should have been given the opportunity to correct their mistakes and that the true meaning of disrepute does not characterize Dr. Kevin Walker.

 

The motion carried (3-2) with Commissioner Walker and Vice Chairman Inman voting against the motion.

 

There being no further business to come before the Board, Chairman John Turpin entertained a motion to adjourn the meeting. 

 

Commissioner McHugh moved to adjourn the meeting.  

 

Commissioner Joe Turpin seconded and the motion carried (4-1) with Vice Chairman Inman voting against the motion.

 

 

 

_________________________                                  _____________________________

Darlene M. Bullins                                                     John M. Turpin

Clerk to the Board                                                     Chairman