04/04/06 — Duplin commission eyes personnel matter

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Duplin commission eyes personnel matter

By Turner Walston
Published in News on April 4, 2006 1:51 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin County Manager Fred Eldridge has been instructed to take disciplinary action after allegations were made against a county employee, the county's commissioners decided Monday.

The commissioners went into closed session at 2 p.m. to discuss economic development, legal and personnel issues.

Representatives from Duplin County Emergency Medical Services, Johnston Ambulance Service and Coastline Care were included in the meeting.

Attorneys Buzzy Stubbs and Trey Taylor had no comment after leaving the session.

More than three hours later, commissioners went back into open session.

When the boardroom filled again, county attorney Wendy Sivori addressed attendees.

"Allegations have been made against a county employee, and the board has instructed the county manager to take any appropriate disciplinary actions pursuant to our personnel policy," she said.

She did not go into detail regarding the complaint against the employee.

The board then recessed until 9 a.m. today, when it was to reconvene for budget hearings.

Commissioners left the county office shortly before 6 p.m., not giving any indication of the concern discussed during the closed session.

"We've got certain steps we've got to go through," Commissioner Larry Howard said.

"We have to uphold the personnel policy. That's our guide," Chairman Zettie Williams said.

Earlier in the meeting, commissioners approved a mutual aid agreement with Jones County EMS.

Representatives of STAR, Students and Teachers Achieving Results, addressed commissioners.

The organization is comprised of five students from each of the county's high schools.

Lindley Barrow, a senior at Wallace-Rose Hill, said student expectations in the county need to be higher. She related her experience at the Governor's School of North Carolina, a residential summer program for gifted high school students.

"It was an intellectual environment that we need here in Duplin County," she said.

"We would like to invite our county commissioners to take a role in our education, and help us in our future," said Nestor Saavedra, a senior at James Kenan.

"You folks hold the key to our future," Commissioner Arliss Albertson said. "You have the key to change things, and make the future better for all of us."

"We've been challenged by the students," Commissioner Reginald Wells said. "We need to step our game up."

The commissioners also declared April 3 Wallace-Rose Hill Bulldog Day, in honor of school's boys basketball team, whose members won the state 1-A basketball championship.

"You'll take this on through the rest of your life and always be champions," Commissioner David Fussell told the team members.