kelly

Former Morehead City Police Chief David Kelly discusses his resignation and rumors swirling around regarding his former position in Dyncorp International/

Morehead City’s Police Chief David Kelly, who recently resigned from his position effective Monday, Aug. 1, was rebuffed earlier this week in his efforts to rescind his letter of resignation, which he wanted to do to in hopes of defending himself against emails that he contends are influencing the town council’s opinion of him personally and professionally.

Former Morehead City Police Chief discusses his resignation with WTKF & the Carteret News-Times

The resigning chief told the News-Times Thursday afternoon that he had initially submitted his resignation out of concern that he was going to be fired once an interim manager was selected to fill the position of outgoing manager Ryan Eggleston, whose contract was terminated under mutual agreement with the town board on July 7.

According to Chief Kelly in talking with the town’s interim manager, Chris Turner, he was told that it “was in the best interest of the town to not accept” the offer to rescind the resignation and that the town considers it to be effective Friday, July 29 and not Monday, Aug.1 as noted in the resignation letter. Mr. Turner has not returned calls about this decision, but according to Mayor Jerry Jones, it was made unilaterally without consulting with the town council

Chief Kelly has been the subject of social media postings of news stories related to his earlier job with DynCorp International, a multifaceted contractor providing a variety of services for the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Armed Forces during military operations in Afghanistan. Mr. Kelly joined the company in 2006, starting out as a filed mentor to train Afghan police officers, eventually being promoted to deputy contingent manager with oversight of over 650 U.S. police advisors.

It is that period of time that is the subject of emails received by the Morehead City Town Council that Chief Kelly contends was the primary issue related to Mr. Eggleston’s problems with the town council and he feared would lead to his own dismissal.

Because the interim town manager has not allowed Chief Kelly the opportunity to rescind his resignation, which he sought in an effort to defend his reputation and professional experience, he asked to tell his story through an interview with the News-Times.

David Kelly interview 7/28/2022

[Lockwood Phillips]

We are recording this interview today with David Kelly Morehead City police chief, still as of Thursday, July 28, we have David Kelly here and Matthew Adkins who's reporting for the Carteret County News Times. David, welcome. Thank you for doing this. All right, I'm going to go through a series of questions, and we'll probably come back to one or two of the questions in the process, but sort of to move along pretty quickly. Little background on David Kelly.

[David Kelly]

Certainly. So, I began my law enforcement career with Goldsboro Police Department in 1991.

[Phillips]

Are you a North Carolinian?

[Kelly]

I am. Originally from Goldsboro, born and raised. My family growing up through the years have always come down here to this area. Originally, we had a place at Emerald Isle after my dad passed away. It was too much for my mom to handle. So then later on in years, my family ended up getting a place over in Atlantic Beach. And so, we've come here for my entire life.

[Phillips]

You know the area?

[Kelly]

Yes.

[Phillips]

Why law enforcement.

[Kelly]

You know, I certainly made an effort with college at the time. You know, that was not the right time for me to be in college. And after about two years, I came back home. And I had a very close, I would say surrogate father, to me, my best friend's dad. And he actually worked for the Goldsboro Police Department. After having a long conversation with him, I decided to go to the Police Academy, and I got hired on with Goldsboro PD. Eventually, my mentor went on to be the chief of police at one time there at Goldsboro, as well as town council member. And I stayed with Goldsboro PD for just about 15 1/2 years, almost 16 years, and I was promoted through the ranks from patrol officer to a detective, and I was assigned to robbery and homicides for two years. And then I was promoted to sergeant over the detective division. But that also included not only the detectives, but it had a Crime Stoppers, had crime scene investigations, the record section, crime prevention and other units as well. I was a sergeant with Goldsboro for about eight years. An opportunity came up right after the start of the Afghan War to go overseas as a contractor with Dyncorp International on the police program. This was the total reform of the police program in Afghanistan. In December of 2006, I left Goldsboro PD and was hired on by Dyncorp, and on the contract with the State Department, to go to Afghanistan. I was promoted several times throughout my tenure there with Dyncorp. I started off as a field mentor, promoted to training supervisor, deputy regional commander, and within the end of my first year there, I was promoted to deputy contingent commander. The program had an overall contingent commander, then two deputies and I was responsible for the operation side. I had about 650 U.S. police advisers under my command, and the program was divided into eight regional training centers or eight different regions within the country. I mean it followed the format that the military was using and what was called International Security Assistance Force, which consisted of all of the other international military law enforcement agencies, whether it was the Italians, the Germans, New Zealand, the list goes on. We work closely internationally with our international partners. There are eight regional training centers dispersed, and out of those training centers, that's where all of the training academies are. That's where our mentors are housed that go out to forward operating bases to mentor, you know, district police chiefs, regional police chiefs and stuff like that. So, I was there for a year and a half as a deputy contingent commander, coming up to the completion of the last contract that I was on before the start of the next contract then.

[Phillips]

OK, so this was contractual arrangements correct with dedicated conclusions.

[Kelly]

Correct. So, in 2009 April timeframe. My wife and I were actually on vacation. We vacationed in Dubai for a few days, went on to Egypt for about a week or so, came back to Dubai for a few days. I think the total trip was about 12 days or 14 days total. When I came back, went back to work and then was informed of an incident that occurred at one of the regional training centers. And this is one of the more remote regional training centers. And I'll go into to that incident in a little bit. So essentially because of what all occurred and there was, there was other issues that were going on in the program, not just this incident. And when you look at Dyncorp and what they had in the country, it was a very large operation. It was just not the police mission. They had a security mission. They had an aviation mission. They had food services. They had housing facilities. They had working with other governmental agencies on everything from DEA to ATF. The list goes on. So, there was a very large operation that Dyncorp had. The police side of it was a just one piece of it. There were multiple program managers. There was an overall in country manager, which was historically a retired two-star general, but there were managers that manage each of the different programs and then subsequent subordinate supervisors in each of those programs. You had a security program manager, you had a security lead, you had security site supervisors. And the list goes on. There are other issues that have come to surface with the program as a whole and not necessarily this incident on the police side of it. I was at the end approaching the end of my contract completion of my contract, and at the request of the customer, which was the State Department, they did a complete leadership change of every supervisor within the organization, not just the police side. Myself, the contingent commander, program manager, the other deputy seat contingent commander, the security program manager. Several people were essentially contracts terminated at the request of the State Department. I come back home, and it took me, you know, honestly, coming from that environment...it took me a while to reacclimate and...eventually, I applied for a job at other agencies. That's when I was hired by North Carolina State University Police Department. This was in September, so I returned, and I think it was around the first part of May. In September of 2009 is when I started with N.C. State University Police Department.

[Phillips]

OK, I want to ask you a question on N.C. State Department because this has come up. Did they do background check on you?

[Kelly]

They did. They did a complete background check.

[Phillips]

Who did that background check?

[Kelly]

I believe that it was contracted out. And again, we're talking 13-14 years ago. All I know is the background was done. All this information was placed on my form, what's called an F3, which is form that gets submitted to North Carolina Training Standards. I was interviewed and my background was completed. They had all the information from Dyncorp as well as from Goldsboro PD. I was hired on and spent 12 years, just over 12 years, with N.C. State. Again, with my career there, I started off as a corporal. I was promoted to a lieutenant after my first two years. I spent a year as a lieutenant. Then I was promoted to a major. And I was first assigned to support services. Spent four years in support services, then the last five years was spent over patrol operations. So essentially, I was a deputy chief within the organization and have supervised every unit and aspect of that entire department. In 2019, after completing my master's degree in justice administration...

[Phillips]

OK. So, I'm going to interrupt you here. You had not gone to college, right? You worked in Goldsboro.

[Kelly]

While at Goldsboro PD, when I was promoted to detective, I took night classes through North Carolina Wesleyan College and got my bachelor's degree in criminal justice from North Carolina Wesleyan. Fast forward to my time with Dyncorp. I'd actually enrolled in University of Phoenix and was looking at a global security and management master's degree with them, took several classes with them, came back and it took me a while to get back into it once I got to N.C. State. I went through the program at Methodist University, graduated summa cum laude with my bachelor’s, graduated with honors with my master's degree, because I knew that I needed to have that education to go along with my experience to look at becoming a chief of police. Which is, you know, certainly when you look at my career, that's something that I've wanted to do throughout my career.

[Phillips]

But you had acted as a deputy chief even for N.C. State and had been working in various chief capacities when you were working with Dyncorp?

[Kelly]

Correct. So, in 2019, we had a new chief that came in at N.C. State, and when you look at how many years he had left, you know the likelihood of me being a chief at N.C. State was diminished unless he decided to leave at some point.

[Phillips]

Was that your next level of advancement?

[Kelly]

Yes, Sir.

[Phillips]

So, you were at your maximum level advancement short of becoming chief?

[Kelly]

Yes, Sir. Correct. So, I began applying for different chief jobs with the UNC system and was down to being a second finalist in several processes I went through. Specifically, one was with UNC-Chapel Hill for the chief’s position there, and this was in 2019. I go through the entire process, the assessment center. They ask a lot of pre-questions to even get to the assessment center. They discuss your background. They discuss prior employment. They discuss everything before you're even making it to the next step to go to the assessment center. Again, all that information I shared with the assessment, the group that was doing the assessment, and all that information is shared with the hiring committee that's responsible for hiring for those positions. So, part of this process involved a public forum, event or conversation. And it was between myself and one other candidate for the position. And the night before this was to occur, the hiring manager gives me a call, says hey, we received an anonymous e-mail that discusses in depth an incident that occurred in Afghanistan which led to your eventual termination, contract termination and so forth. I said fully aware of it. What would you like to talk about? The next day, I go to the open forum, and one of the very first questions came out about somebody that brought up that letter, read the letter out and asked me to comment on it. I went into detail about the incident, the fact that I was not involved in the incident whatsoever. At the end of completion of my contract, you know no longer employed with Dyncorp. Didn't refute anything that was had to be said about it. Ultimately, I was not selected for the position, so I remained in N.C. State. When the position came up at Morehead City, one thing that my wife and I have talked about for years is eventual retirement and moving to this area. For the past four years or five years, we've been coming up here six or seven times a year or more looking at places to buy essentially because we knew this is where we wanted to be. And when the position came open with Morehead, we discussed it. I'm like this is it, it's where we wanted to be, this is a great way to continue my career, I love the area. The list goes on. So, I applied and made it through the first screening of applicants, which goes to a phone interview with the background investigators for the assessment center company. I went in depth again about my experience, my employment, who I've worked with. Even down to everything about this incident with Afghanistan to the extent that I said...because they asked me the question, is there anything that you're concerned about? I said, you know, the biggest concern I have is that it's not a matter of if someone sends an anonymous letter, but it's a matter of when somebody sends an anonymous letter to representatives of the town.

[Phillips]

To that anonymous letter, and that was one of the questions I wanted to ask. It first appeared at N.C. State when you were going through the process?

[Kelly]

So let me go back to 2019. After this interview or after this open forum and process with UNC-Chapel Hill, whoever this anonymous person is communicated via the dark web through an untraceable proton e-mail address. OK, you can't trace the IP address. You don't know where it's coming from. There's no way to know who this person is. This person sent an e-mail, not only to human resources at N.C. State, but they also sent the same e-mail to North Carolina Training and Standards, who holds the certifications of all officers in the state. They have the authority and ability to conduct investigations and either A) exonerate B) confirm and issue punishment or do nothing or they can revoke your certification. It goes before trial at the commission. The list goes on. It was investigated fully by Training and Standards, and I was exonerated of any wrongdoing about any lying or anything.

[Phillips]

Is there some sort of documentation or confirmation, and will training instructors provide that information?

[Kelly]

That's a good question, and I'll try to explain it the best way I can. So that investigation is done, and it was shared with the chief of police and human resources at N.C. State. Human Resource at N.C. State conducted their own investigation as well, and they came to the same conclusion. I've done nothing wrong. I've been open and honest about it. Information was known prior to being hired. The list goes on. When I come to Morehead City, that's why I said it's not a matter of if, it's a matter when somebody's going to send a letter discussing all this stuff about Afghanistan and all this other stuff. Fully transparent, open, honest about everything is the exact same story that I've been telling since 2009. It is what was shared with Training and Standards. It was what was shared with employee relations with N.C. State. I mean, the list goes on. I make it through the process, and eventually it comes down to the final interview with the manager. During this final piece before I'm given the full offer and all this other stuff, I'm given the conditional offer of employment. I come up here on Thursday, do my final interview. I meet with the manager on Friday morning, and he's offering me the job, and we're talking about the next steps and processes, and working on the benefits package that would come with it. So that goes into an independent company, and I want to say it's called SSI, that did my background investigation for here. The first day that I speak with the investigator from SSI, I go through Goldsboro PD to N.C. State, everything in between, Afghanistan employment, contract termination. And again, he asked me the same question: is there anything that we need to be concerned about? I said it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when somebody sends this anonymous e-mail. About a day passes by, and I'm talking to the manager, and he said, look, we want to follow up some more on this stuff with Dyncorp. No problem. I speak to the background investigator again specifically about Dyncorp and everything that happened. All this information has been out there, upfront, honest since the beginning. The manager was fully aware of it. The background investigators were fully aware of it. Training and Standards obviously was aware of it, and so I'm hired for the position. We're talking about it, and at this point, I'm moving my family from the Raleigh area, selling my house, leaving everything to come here with the understanding that I'm the chief of police for Morehead City and there's nothing negative about it. Everything's fine, going well, and I think that we did some great work over the last seven months as an agency. And everything's running well. And then, whoever this person is, sent the anonymous letter or e-mail to the entire members of the town council. The manager tells me about it. I'm like, I've already...we've been through this. I've told you about it. You know, what else do you want me to say? Training standards cleared me. Human resources cleared me. Background investigators had it all in there to begin with. So, I said there's no…I'm not hiding anything. It is what it is. At that point, we've gone to a committee type process, and so there's a finance and human resources committee, and there's two members of the council that are the chair and co-chair of this committee. And to understand the committee, only the chair and co-chair can have speaking roles. Anybody can be present during the committee meetings, but others can't speak. I can't recall what day it was, so during the committee meeting, after everybody else was excused except for several members, I think everybody was there, but one council member.

[Phillips]

Sorry, I got to ask you a question. You recall having all the council members there, save one?

[Kelly]

Correct.

[Phillips]

This was a committee meeting.

[Kelly]

Correct. So, I was asked to...

[Phillips]

Do you remember the date of that by any chance?

[Kelly]

I'll have to look it up.

[Phillips]

Would you please look it up?

[Kelly]

Yeah, I'll see what I can do.

[Phillips]

That's not germane to this story, but it's germane to other issues.

[Kelly]

It was at least six weeks, if not two months ago. Give or take. So, I was asked to provide a statement about that letter and my time with Dyncorp. I went through the exact same thing in that meeting that I had for years stated. One of the council members on the committee said, thank you, we're done. This is in the bed for all we care, it's done. It's over with. I was like, OK, well that makes sense. It should be. It never should be an issue. And so, based on that, we made some life decisions as far as putting the contract on a house and all this other stuff. About a week or two later, one, if not a couple of the council members, brought the issue back up. They wanted my background reinvestigated and all this other stuff. This is information that was shared with me by the town manager. I said fine, do it again. I mean, I don't know what else I can say or do at this point. And so, time goes by and I'm not hearing anything. But all of a sudden, you start seeing all of these special sessions of council meetings, closed-door sessions of council meetings. After one of the town council meetings, which is one of the very first special sessions that went on, I was advised by the manager hang tight, go back to your office. We need to discuss this in a closed-door session, and I'll call you over when it's time for you to discuss this in front of the entire town council. Three hours later, I still had not been contacted. Then the manager calls me and says, hey, you in your office? I want to come over and chat with you. So, the meeting was concluded. I never had an opportunity to stand before the entire council for everybody to ask questions to provide this story of statement. Again, time goes by, and they start calling all these special closed-door sessions. What was advised, what was told to me, was that the council decided or voted that the decision lie with the town manager as to the course of action to take. And the course of action that the manager and I had discussed...and again, the human resources director was in these meetings as well, was that they'll put it in my personnel file with the department. They're not going to terminate me. We're moving on. And that was what was said to me by the town manager.

[Phillips]

Do you remember the date on that by any chance?

[Kelly]

I'll have to go back and really look at the calendar, to be honest with you, but it was before the meeting they had. It was a Monday. Then I want to say Thursday was the day that they went through and made the determination of the resignation of the manager. So it was that previous Monday or Tuesday, whatever it was.

[Phillips]

The resignation was required on the 7th of July.

[Kelly]

OK, so whatever meeting was before that, sometime in late June or first week of July, I don't recall. So, there are members of the council that wanted me terminated. And all I can say is, I was not terminated. But at the very next session that they have, the manager is no longer the manager for Morehead City. During this time, I spoke with several people within the community and several people in law enforcement, whether it's with the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police, I'm a member of the Police Benevolent Association, as far as what is what is the right course of action, because what was also shared with me was that upon the termination or separation with the manager, the person they were going to bring in was going to do the termination of my employment. That was the intent was relayed to me by several people that would know.

[Phillips]

Did you have a feeling that they already had determined who was going to be the interim manager?

[Kelly]

I do. Again, based on what was occurring and the conversations that I was having with people both internal to the town of Morehead and externally. I cannot prove this, so I'm hesitant to say, but I think if you look at timelines, that says a lot. I'm at the point where I've got seven or eight months until I could fully retire with full benefits after 29 years and three months. And I'm faced with the decision at this point to accept termination, which could be disastrous for me to try to go somewhere else to finish out my law enforcement career, or to resign. And resoundedly, the information that was relayed to me was this, from three different people: the intent is to terminate my employment when the interim town manager is named. I felt at the time that it was in my best interest that if I wanted to try to go work for another agency for whatever amount of time, so I could draw my retirement, was to resign. On the 18th of July, I submitted a letter of resignation stating I hereby resign from my position as chief of police with Morehead City Police Department, effective August 1st. I have vacation leave that I could use. I needed to think about some of this a little bit more, figure out what's the best course of action to take. I believe even though I submitted a letter, it was my understanding based on conversations that I had that I could still rescind that resignation letter before August 1st. And so that's what I did. I submitted my resignation letter. I've had a lot of time to think. I've had a lot of conversations with people here in the community. I decided this morning that I would rescind my letter of resignation. I sent that to the human resources director at Morehead City. I need to share this piece because it's important: On Monday the 25th was the first day of the new town manager, and so through the human resources director, I said listen, I'm available to speak with the town manager. I'd like to talk to him about all of this to be able to provide him with my side of the story. I never heard from him until today. And this was after I submitted the rescinding of the resignation letter. He calls and basically states that he is not going to accept my rescinding of my resignation letter. We spoke for a minute, and I said I don't have an opportunity to share with you my side of the story essentially, and he said no. I said what is the reason for not wanting to accept this? He said, I don't have to give you a reason. It's in the best interests of the town of Morehead that I not accept your rescinding of your resignation. So here we are. For me, it's important to have this conversation because my reputation is on the line. My integrity is on the line. There are a lot of rumors going around that people truly believe that I was involved in this unfortunate never-should-have-happened incident downrange in Afghanistan, and it is so far from the truth. I was not even in the country when this happened. Then people are saying I'm a liar about it. I've never lied about it. It's been out there in the open since 2009. Nothing's changed. People are putting stock more so in an anonymous letter that nobody can verify versus the investigation of Training and Standards, the investigation of background investigators, the investigation of human resources here.

[Phillips]

What is your relationship with Ryan Eggleston? What was your feeling about that? Because you made a pretty abrupt move shortly after his termination, which, by the way, has also been named firing by one council member twice.

[Kelly]

From the day I met Ryan (Eggleston) was the day that I came up here for the department head interview. Immediately I like this guy. I could tell that he was very smart. He knew what he was doing. Very personable. One of the best interests at heart for the town and for the departments, and especially for the police department. He recognized that I was the outside person, not from here originally, an outside person coming in, which had not been the case for many, many years here at the department. We had a great working relationship. He was an excellent boss and supervisor, excellent town manager, really worked with me acclimating from state law enforcement back into local government and stuff like that. A lot of time working on processes and budgets. He allowed me the opportunity to come in and analyze the agency, provide feedback in a report and a 30-60-90-day plan, address inefficiencies and ineffectiveness and really work with the department and gave me the latitude that I needed. I think that went over resoundingly well with a lot of the members of the of the police department. You know I was surprised that it got to the point that it did. Especially with his termination, or firing, for doing what was right. He was a really good boss. He loved the town, and he really had a vision of where he saw Morehead City, both from a business growth perspective, a residential growth perspective, the involvement with programs and organizations, everything from the Big Rock to the Seafood Festival to the Marlins. He really worked hard to make sure the whole town was moving in the right direction.

[Phillips]

The anonymous letter, do you have any idea who or why? And the fact that this is going on for 12 years. 2009 was that when it first showed?

[Kelly]

No, when the letters first started showing up, there was a series of internal letters that was sent to N.C. State. But most of them were directed at the chief of police at that time. But it wasn't until he retired from state law enforcement and had applied for a process with a local government around the same time as this was going on. Whoever this person is sent a letter, an anonymous e-mail from this e-mail address, to that town saying this person, you know, whatever. He actually hired a private investigator to try to look into it.

[Phillips]

So, he was being targeted because he had hired you?

[Kelly]

Correct. In other words, the belief is that somewhere along the line, with me being a major deputy chief and him being the chief, we had employees that were terminated. And not everyone was an easy termination to say the least. The belief is a disgruntled person somewhere, don't know who. But he hired a private investigator to look into it, and even the private investigator could not determine who it was, where it was coming from or anything. This investigator also set up a meeting with this person and said, hey, you've got proof. Meet me and share it with me. And the meeting never happened. It's not new, but I've just been dealing with the exact same thing from whoever this person is for years.

[Phillips]

We've been told that you were buying a house.

[Kelly]

We were. We've been in a rental house since January. We moved here in December, was in an Airbnb little rental for the first month, and we've been very particular about where we wanted to live. After everything I thought was said and done after that first committee meeting, OK, this is behind us. This is over with and done with. We actually entered into a contract to purchase a home, and you understand this market. Between due diligence and earnest money and providing the best offer we could, we put a significant amount of money down on whichever it is you don't get back, due diligence or earnest money. It was in the thousands of dollars, all said and done, because we paid for all of the inspections. We had home inspections, the land surveyed, septic tank inspected, we had the HVAC looked at, we had the hot water system looked at. Everything that we possibly could. We were all in about $15,000. It was actually more than that, but they gave us the other part of it back. When all this changed, and this was a week ago because we were supposed to close on the 25th, I was like, there's no way we can (do it now). I don't know what's going to happen because I'm facing unemployment because of all this. We withdrew the offer and lost $15,000 out of it.

[Phillips]

One final question. What next?

[Kelly]

That's a good question. I think my wife and I have talked about 10 different scenarios. Ultimately, I would love to stay here as the chief of police of Morehead City. That is what I've moved here for. That's what I was moved here to do. That is what I was hired to do. That is ultimately the best outcome. I could go ahead and retire, but I won't receive my law enforcement supplement. I would receive a portion of what I would have received had I done the full 30 years. So, these are financial decisions that we're making. Not only financial, but what's the best and healthiest for me, my wife and my family involved in this. I've looked at putting in applications with other agencies just try to get the time that I need to retire, but it's at a significant loss in a portion of the supplement that I would have received. I looked at just retiring and taking what I can and starting into a personal business I had when I was living up towards Raleigh. I looked at restarting that business and continuing on and expanding that through general contractor's license, stuff like that. A decision hasn't been made because we don't know what's the best decision for us.

[Phillips]

So, David Horton was the one that was not in that meeting when all the town was in a committee meeting?

[Kelly]

I think I could say yes because whoever's there is written into record, yes.

[Phillips]

And this was just a committee meeting?

[Kelly]

Correct.

[Phillips]

Not a public meeting?

[Kelly]

Correct.

[Phillips]

And it was finance and human resources, finance and personnel?

[Kelly]

Yes.

[Phillips]

Matthew, do you have any questions I failed to ask?

[Matthew Adkins]

I had a few, but you touched on just about everything.

[Phillips]

Alright, actually you read my list and I hadn't even given it to you. You went right down A to Z. If you wanted to see what I had written, feel free.

[Kelly]

No, no.

[Susan Kelly]

I'm just, it's upsetting that he sent that letter today. The town manager called him, and he went to check his e-mail like he would anytime he's on vacation, which he is right now, and they've already...

[Phillips]

You don't have your e-mail address?

[Kelly]

I had access to my e-mail this morning. I used my town e-mail address to send the e-mail to the human resources director. After the conversation this afternoon with the interim town manager, I went to go check something in my e-mail, and I no longer have access to my e-mail account. Which means I don't have access to my calendar that I kept everything on that would tell me the dates and times of certain things, if that makes sense. I'm going to have to go back and look at the records of the council meetings, the closed-door sessions. Would have to look at around what time the committee meeting was for...The finance and...I don't have access to it anymore. I cannot get into that at all, which would be my calendar and everything.

[Adkins]

It might just be my naivety, but did they ever give a reason for letting go the town manager?

[Lockwood]

No, I have asked that question to every council member personally, as did our reporter. And we, even after the meeting, did it again the following day, because I said I want you to chase it down and get a reason. None of them have ever given a reason. They said personnel.

[Kelly]

I think it's important to understand that at no time during this entire process was I ever given a letter, e-mail, notice of an investigation. I was never placed on investigatory status. I was never placed on administrative leave with pay. I continue to come to work. Every day. Working every day. Throughout this entire process, up until the day last week when I submitted the letter resignation effective August 1st. Nothing changed my appointment. Prior to this, I had my review with the town manager, because you have a six month, or you have part of the process. I had no negative reviews. I fully understood and accept the fact that there's people that know me and don't know me. There's those that have an opinion and don't have an opinion, and some people are not invested in whether I stay or go. When I look at what how we are with our agency and this town, I went from several vacancies and openings to where I had every position filled and I had a waiting list. People wanted to come work for the Morehead City Police Department. And I directly attribute that to the work that's been done. Not just me. I'm the chief. I make decisions, I call shots. But you know, we were a team. We work collaboratively to get to where we're at. And that was the most important thing that we could accomplish as an agency.

[Phillips]

David, thank you very much. I'm going to conclude this interview. I appreciate you also allowing me to record this. I think this is a very important opportunity, and I will share this recording with you by the way.

[Kelly]

Sounds good.

[Phillips]

Thank you very much for doing it.

(31) comments

drewski

All this other drama aside, he resigned rather then "maybe be fired," then wanted to unresign? Seems to me those actions indicate a propensity for hasty ill conceived decisions, not something I would be looking for in a LEO leadership position.

Doc Epoch

I concur Drewski, something is not right.

Seems like everyone from the local government to the newspaper is running cover for their lack of transparency. Carteret Times decides to print a lengthy Q&A to help squash rumors…..I wish we could have had the same Q/A support from the newspaper during the 2.5 years of COVID especially with the school board and health department but I digress.

Once the time for the clean up is done, be sure to look for what gets swept under the rug. Disgusting “good ole boy” politics on display, once again, in Eastern NC. When will we ever learn?

Truth

Funny you think that way because if say that the council displayed far worse judgement by investigating him thoroughly, hiring him, he does an amazing job and then they play secret squirrel complete with dirty backdoor deals and meetings to try and oust the man. He's not a fool and resigned because he was basically told he was gonna be fired and by the sequence of events it sure sounded like it.

The town of MHC has a history of backdoor dealings and secret meetings. I'd rather have a wise police chief than a dirty council and town leadership.

carteretresident

This was the worst story and interview I've ever read. Thank you for wasting everyone's time. Journalism in this COUNTY is in the gutter.

carteretresident

Post what the "incident" is that occurred in April 2009. Show some journalistic integrity. What happened and who was involved? Let's be honest.

moreheadmom

so what was the incident?

TeddyRoosevelt

Based on the timeline, it seems likely the “incident” was the one discussed in this article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/26/AR2009072602358.html

ChessieSystem

Really bizarre.... This article has some info about it: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hey-dyncorp-two-words-about-your-dancing-afghan-boy-problem-damage-control/

ChessieSystem

Gross. No wonder the chief didn't want to talk about the "incident". Seems it wasn't a "tribal dance". Here is another investigation/article: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/story/2010/12/the-dancing-boys-of-afghanista.html

carteretresident

Pedophilia. It was pedophilia by his employees.

drewski

If you are fired, there is recourse, admin law judges,labor relation boards wrongful termination suits, publicity...if you quit..you walk away. This county is no different, except possibly a matter of degree from anywhere else as far as back room deals and buisness being conducted out of sight.

Sadly that's how the world works.

mpjeep

DynCorp has had many ethical and legal issues while sucking taxpayers dry. I hope we never find life on another planet because the US would send taxpayer money to them with little accountability.

The whole interview's central point was “Afghanistan in 2009.” The interviewer could have taken this interview from good to great by asking what happened during that time, even if the interviewee wouldn’t or couldn’t answer the question.

I would like to know “the rest of the story.”

Drime

I agree with Mpjeep what happened in Afghanistan ? That is the question we didn’t hear or a answer !

moreheadmom

So I am really confused now. All of this because of a going away party where a male teen was paid to do a customary dance? And Kelly wasnt even there? So some rando dude is following him around for that? Yeah something is severely off here.

carteretresident

It wasn't a customary dance. It was an underaged minor child forced to do a lap dance to a group of adult male police advisors employed by Dyncorp under Brian Kelly's leadership. It was pedophilia!!!

ChessieSystem

Did they really publish this small novel of an interview and not ask what the "incident" was?

And why isn't this summarized into an article for folks who do not want to read the entirety of a long-winded, unedited conversation?

saltydog

Do your own research on the Dyncorp incident. Not that hard to find if you have any knowledge of Internet research. He was a senior leader but not even in the same country when the incident occurred. However, the Dept of State demanded that contracts for all leadership from the top down not be renewed. That's the way they do things. No different that Dept of Defense. There have been incidents at Camp Lejeune where Commanding Officers or Generals have been relieved, simply because it happened in their Command. This man never lied or tried to hide what happened....was always open about it. In short, he got the shaft because someone (whoever keeps sending the anonymous emails is) has it out for him and the MHC Council Members have no backbone.

MHC had a good Chief. Sorry to see him go.

carteretresident

He absolutely is hiding the pedophilia abuse of a minor child that happened under his watch. It also sounds like you're defending pedophilia.

NeroFiddles4PhotoOps

Unless you have direct firsthand knowledge, that is a bold statement. If on the other hand, all you have done is Google search and guess, you might owe the man an apology. Disclosure of investigation and adjudication of his role in the event by multiple agencies hardly constitutes “hiding” anything.

saltydog

Sounds like you have firsthand knowledge of what went down over there. Maybe you were there? If so, please share it and put an end to the questions.

Drime

Was he fired from Dyncorp at the request of the Department of Defense? If so did he disclose it on his application for employment at the time he applied for a job with the MHC police? If not, why not? If he did not disclose it that's a big problem for a Police Chief in charge of enforcing the law.

moreheadmom

carteretresident - the one article from teh WP posted above didnt really hint at the pedo angle. I think that is a reach at best. Even so the Kelly allegedly wasnt even there, I get the whole "buck stops here" mentality in regards to accountability but I am just questioning why this is following him a decade later. Something is completely off with this story. Not sure how an anonymous email can derail a career. IF that was me and I received that, it goes straight into the trash. If you are not man enough to put a name behind it then its worthless

bkrmke64

Some of these comments reek of conspiracy theorist reactionary nonsense. The fact that he was cleared of any wrongdoing multiple times isn't enough for the 'hearsay crowd.' Guilty by association, I suppose.

It's a sad state of affairs when two highly qualified men end up losing their jobs because three members of the council are apparently conspiracy theorists who believe random dark web emails over investigations by legitimate organizations.

What's next? Are they going to fire the dog catcher for being a lizard person?

mpjeep

I kinda agree, 64. I’m not a fan of anonymous emails and put little credence in them.

moreheadmom

Well according to him he cannot produce where he has been cleared all these times. Like I said there are so many levels to this story and we will never know the truth. I just find it an impossibility that he was out of the country when a kid danced for some guys and thats all that happened.

carteretresident

Stop defending pedophilia!

crworsinger

No one is defending pedophilia, we're saying this was not pedophilia, and anyone who thinks it is is a conspiracy theorist who should be ignored.

dc

He was out-of-country when the incident happened? But it's okay for a drag show in the parking lot of exchange on military installation in this country? We have our priorities in order.

carteretresident

Stop defending pedophilia!!! They were his employees!!!!!!

dc

This story may or may not be about party politics but it has elements of politics and morality at various angles. If at least two sitting presidents are any indication of what the country will accept "morally" the moral of this story is you may not be guilty of any wrongdoing or be anywhere near the incident in question but you can get fired. Conversely, a sitting president (e.g. BC) can be a partipate in an immoral act on the job in the WH and not be fired. Obviously, no political party has a monopoly on morality. But unless you believe it was Russian disinformation the current one has issues himself, and he and many of his party and ilk tell a big fat D lie covering for his son. Also, what happened in the Va election is directly related to school-age youth and the more liberal folks seem to not only tolerate but want to foist on the populace of all ages their loose moral BS. Shouldn't the voters take a stance one way or the other on where they stand morally? Va recently did so now how about you?

Lockwood Phillips, Bravo for performing this interview and publishing it. If you are able to contact me please do. I have some pertinent information. #Justicefordavidkelly

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