10/04/06 — Kenly police chief made 'poor choices'

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Kenly police chief made 'poor choices'

By Lee Williams
Published in News on October 4, 2006 1:45 PM

Acting Kenly police Chief Josh Gibson said Tuesday that the news of the termination of their former police chief for misusing the town's credit card sent shock waves through the six-man department, but their allegiance to the town of Kenly is stronger than ever.

Kenly police Chief David Mangum, 35, was ousted from his post on Saturday after Town Council discovered he allegedly used the town's credit card to pay for questionable expenses including a $648 Carnival Cruise, shopping sprees and hotel stays in Kitty Hawk and Nag's Head, officials said.

Gibson said the news about the alleged incident has put a damper on employee morale.

"It has affected moral -- that's common sense, but we're going to go on about business," Gibson said. "We're going to continue to enforce the law and protect the safety of the citizens."

Mangum joined the Kenly Police Department as a full-time employee on May 18, 2000. At the time of his firing, Mangum's salary was $38,375, town officials said.

Town Councilwoman Beverly Knight said she believed Mangum was a "fine, young man." Knight said Mangum used the town's credit card to make personal purchases and she regretted Mangum made "poor choices."

"I was in total shock that he could be so careless with the town's money," Ms. Knight said.

Ms. Knight said the Board's allegiance is to the citizens and the Town of Kenly, therefore the Board had no choice but to take action when they saw charges such a Carnival Cruise on the credit card statement.

Ms. Knight said she believed Mangum stated that he planned to make restitution, but she added, "That's not the point." Ms. Knight said the Town had a policy in place that stated employees are not allowed to use the town's credit card for personal use.

According to credit card statements obtained by the Town Manager Scott Shelton, Mangum purchased a pair of pants from Belk in Smithfield for $29.42 and a pair of khakis and black jeans from Casual Male Big & Tall store for $58.83.

The statements also showed Mangum paid for a one night stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kitty Hawk for $319 and he purchased an in-room movie for $14.97. He also paid for a one night stay at the Comfort Inn Oceanfront South in Nag's Head for $169.99, according to the statements.

Ms. Knight stated other personnel issues played a factor in Mangum's termination, but she declined to elaborate since the case has been turned over to SBI for review.

SBI is looking into the case to determine if Mangum committed fraud when he used the town's credit card for personal use, officials said. Based on SBI's findings, Mangum could face criminal charges.

Ms. Knight said she has served on the Kenly Town Council for 11 years and this was the first time she encountered a case like this.

"This is the first time we've had an issue with a department head," Ms. Knight said.

Kevin Moore, a Kenly resident, supported the board's decision to fire Mangum before he has his day in court.

"I doubt they acted too quickly," Moore said. "He should have known better. He shouldn't be using the town's credit card for personal use unless it was authorized by the town. Even if he planned on paying it back, it's unacceptable."