Pender County commissioners taking aim at board of health - Topsail Voice: News

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Pender County commissioners taking aim at board of health


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Posted: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 10:44 am, Mon Apr 2, 2012.

BURGAW – In a not so subtle message to the board of health, one county commissioner has made his feelings known as to its members’ futures.

“In January 2012 there are seven members of the board of health who terms expires,” said Commissioner David Williams. “I think we should advertise for those positions.”

Williams’ comments, made at Monday’s commissioners meeting, comes a few weeks after the board was advised that one of its health inspectors had allegedly informed a Hampstead business owner the day before about an appointment regarding a possible complaint about the business. That tip led to a confrontation outside the county annex in Hampstead.

Then last week at a special, closed meeting of the board of health, Chairman Terri King told both County Manager Rick Benton and Attorney Trey Thurman to leave.

According to Commissioner Chairman George Brown, King dismissed the two county officials from the meeting over his objections.

“I was embarrassed for them,” said Brown. “This was not done by the board or with the sanction of the board, but by Mrs. King, although looking at the board I think she would have had most of their support.”

Brown said since the retirement of the former health director, Dr. Jack Griffith, in October, the commissioners had requested that Benton and/or Thurman attend the meetings to help advise the board.

But last Wednesday Brown said King did not want any assistance from the two.

“The dismissing of Mr. Benton and Mr. Thurman was perceived by the commissioners as arrogance,” said Brown. “They were a resource to help the health board deal with some of the issues we have been and are still being forced to deal with.”

Last summer Brown was very critical of the health board and its lack of action during a time when employees were making complaints such as improper treatment and mismanagement by Griffith and his administrative officer Gwenn Smith.

Brown was appointed to the commissioner’s seat on the health board in December and said he has tried to put aside the problems of the past in an attempt to get along.

“But it is getting very difficult to serve as a commissioner and on that board, because before I could be openly critical of certain behavior but now I am trying to get along with them but I still see a need and the opportunity to be critical,” he said.

When asked why he thought the manager and attorney were dismissed Brown said he believes he knows why but refused to elaborate.

“I will say I was very disappointed and annoyed,” he added.

Brown said there is hostility from some on the board toward the commissioners, which he believes has to do with certain members feeling the commissioners are overstepping their authority.

There is also an animosity, according to Brown, for the commissioners for pushing to have a few board members removed due to a conflict of interest.

“I can feel it when I am sitting in those meetings,” he said.

Brown said there is hostility by some but not all the members of the health board.

“There are a few members who are new and they are just caught in the middle,” he said. “They don’t know all the history of what has gone on.”

As for the most recent problem involving the inspector, Brown said due to the nature of personnel issues, he could not address it publicly.

“I may not be able to address this because it is a personnel issue but I can be angry about bad behavior and, in my opinion, the lack of addressing bad behavior,” he said.

Brown went on to say he agreed with Williams’ comments that the commissioners need to advertise for the positions on the health board as they become available.

“I think we should advertise for those positions and I think we are going to advertise for those positions,” he said. “I am tired of people not stepping up to the plate and not taking responsibility and I am tired of the arrogance.”

The commissioners and the health board will hold a joint meeting on March 21 at 7 p.m. in Burgaw.

“It should be an interesting meeting,” said Brown.

  • Discuss

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  • anonymous posted at 9:30 pm on Sun, Mar 20, 2011.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    A lot of people up and down the county are like is getting LOUDER that the REAL reason for the overkill in reactions from some sectors the past year is a LOVE for there truth in this?? ...Keep on watching the PCHD drama....

  • anonymous posted at 7:56 am on Sun, Mar 20, 2011.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    Yes DW and GB...way to go ...have a TANTRUM...POUND YOUR FISTS...push hard with the help of your cohorts and envelopmental journalists for a PUPPET BOARD to replace the current credible one ...then you can go for your hidden agendas unopposed...that's SO Consistent with your guiding motto..."Whenever Everybody thinks ALIKE...NOBODY THINKS!!" Right!!! You can't afford to make anybody think...because that's exposing your REAL SOULS!!!

  • anonymous posted at 3:38 am on Fri, Mar 11, 2011.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    the county manager , attorney and commissioners have no legal authority over the board of health whatsoever , except to appoint board of health members . get over it , that is the law in this state . the county manager , attorney or commissioners cannot hire or fire a health director , only the board of health can do that . again , the law in north carolina . the board of health is not supposed to be involved in health department personnel issues , nor is the county manager , attorney or commissioners , that is the sole job of the health director . again , that is the law in this state . if you don't believe it , feel free to contact the NC Institute of Government . the attendance of county officials at a closed session of the board of heath is at the discretion of the board of health chair , or by majority vote . the county commissioners can appoint whomever they wish to the board of health . although many of the board of health members must be of a certain profession , such as an MD , Nurse , Vet, Engineer , Dentist .unfortunately or maybe fortunately, politicians will be politicians . some of which have their own hidden agenda . as for any politician , whether they be right , wrong of otherwise . and in the case of Pender Co, , i honestly don't know . remember this , yes , Jan. 2012 will role around , so will Novemeber when it's your turn .

  • anonymous posted at 1:59 pm on Thu, Mar 10, 2011.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    The people on the board of health are intelligent, free thinking professionals (the majority of which are doctors in one health field or the other) with the betterment of public health in mind. George has been trying for months to stack this board with people that would bow to his commands, so now David openly threatens the board that the commissioners will remove the majority of them in January? Then what? When they too are free-thinking professionals with the betterment of public health in mind, we will have to continue to hear his and Brown’s rantings again and replace those board members also? These commissioners’ actions are just as juvenile as the schoolyard bully (or the Olde Point duo). Is power that important to you that you want to control health care in this county? David, good luck finding that many health care professionals that will cower to you and George. Oh and Sandy, in case you haven’t noticed, GB IS the leader of the Good Ole Boy Network!

  • anonymous posted at 1:51 pm on Thu, Mar 10, 2011.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    To the Board of Health, WELL DONE! This is your board by NC statute. You are a separate board than the commissioner board for a reason. This is YOUR expertise. There is ONLY ONE commissioner appointed to your board for a reason, to represent them and take information from your board back to the other commissioners, NOT to CONTROL your board! You are doing a fantastic job bringing this health department to the professional level that it deserves and bringing top notch health care providers to the citizens of this county. KUDOS on the selection of this interim health director! He has done great things and made TREMENDOUS progress in a short time! He is a powerful leader with strong leadership skills and EXCEPTIONAL knowledge of the administration of a health department.Keep up the good work, all of you, and don’t compromise yourselves in what you know is right because of bullies on this playground! The future of this department and the health care for the citizens of this county are far too important and lie directly in your hands. Thank you, each and every one of you, for what you have done for this county. It is a VERY important and powerful responsibility that lies at your doorstep. We are counting on you! Keep up the GREAT work!

  • anonymous posted at 4:25 am on Thu, Mar 10, 2011.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    The "goings on" in Burgaw is a sad mess and it never ends!Like I've been saying the county needs to be broken up and I'd love to see the areas of Hampstead, Scotts Hill, Topsail Beach & Surf City included in a NEW county. Pender is a large and very different county form one end to the other. I think all would be better served if a new county were formed?I understand yaers ago the idea of secession was brought to the NC House but never made it to the floor for a vote. If there's any interest / support perhaps we could form a local think tank and discuss? See what our options are? It's not an easy thing to get done but it is possible.I'm tired of coastal Pender being the cash cow for the county and getting the scraps from Burgaw. I'm also tired of the ignorant and lowbrow crowd in Burgaw...they are an embarassment imo. As long as the status quo remains coastal Pender will never move forward and really improve.

  • anonymous posted at 5:09 pm on Wed, Mar 9, 2011.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    I support Commissioner Brown. He is educated enough to know when a "Good Ole Boy" network needs to be cleaned out. Y'all's comments against his pursuit show how deep seeded the problem really is.

  • anonymous posted at 3:42 pm on Wed, Mar 9, 2011.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    After ready this article again, I found a couple of points very disturbing. The first is the quote about the Board of Health from Commissioner David Williams when he states, “In January 2012 there are seven members of the board of health who terms expires,” said Commissioner David Williams. “I think we should advertise for those positions.” This statement from Williams is an obvious admission to the Commissioner’s game plan to stack the Board of Health in their favor. Williams certainly does not have any idea what a democracy is by making such a statement. And who are you referring to Mr. Williams when you say “we”? Who, you and Mr. Brown?The other point which I find even more disturbing is that fact that Commissioner George Brown would walk out of a Board of Health closed session meeting and admittedly give information to the local media outlets as well as include a quote stating, “The dismissing of Mr. Benton and Mr. Thurman was perceived by the commissioners as arrogance,” said Brown. “They were a resource to help the health board deal with some of the issues we have been and are still being forced to deal with.” With this being a closed session meeting, I perceived Commissioner Brown’s statement as unethical and possibly illegal considering that Brown is an elected official thus has certain obligations to the Board’s rules and conduct. Venting his anger to the media certainly crossed the line. If anyone else in that closed session went to the media as George Brown did, they would have been dismissed the very next day. Pender County is definitely starting to smell like a one person government. Less like a democracy and more like a mockery.

  • anonymous posted at 1:49 pm on Wed, Mar 9, 2011.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    Hold up now. When this health director, rainer came didn’t they say he was the trainer for health boards around NC? Seems like he would be much better to advice the board than Benton or Thurman.

  • anonymous posted at 1:30 pm on Wed, Mar 9, 2011.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    OMG! How many health directors and board members will this county have to go through until George finds a group that will do what he wants? After all this time, surely he doesn’t believe that we think the problem is the health director and the health board? So what was it this time that set you off Brown? The inspector wasn’t burned at the stake? From what you had printed last week and this week, that must be what you want from him, or maybe his first-born?

  • anonymous posted at 6:31 am on Wed, Mar 9, 2011.

    anonymous Posts: 0

    This story has a very one sided conclusion. Word for word, Commissioner George Brown is running a PR campaign with the local press to destroy the Pender County Health Dept. Commissioner Brown was seemingly upset when Chairperson Terri King properly excused Benton and Thurman from a closed session Board of Health meeting that the County Manager and County Attorney had no business attending. Over time, George Brown has proved to be nothing less than a bully and Terri King took away his source of support by removing these two men from the room. It’s not a secret that these three men have a mutual agreement to take total control of the Health Department. Chairperson King stood her ground and did the correct thing. So in print, George pouts out loud again. Now if the rest of Pender County would step up to the plate maybe we can stop all this juvenile behavior that Commissioner Brown has created over the past three years. It’s only going to get worst if it is allowed to continue.