A personnel report possibly about an investigation over alleged harassment claims made by a city employee involving a city council member will be discussed soon by city council in a special closed session.
The time of the meeting had not been confirmed as of Tuesday afternoon. It was tentatively scheduled for April 22, but the city clerk was still trying to get confirmation from two councilmen late Tuesday.
Ron Lawrence, Goldsboro city attorney, asked city council Monday, during the board’s work session, to conduct a closed session at the end of the meeting to discuss the 78-page report.
But Mayor Chuck Allen said the board had not seen the report and thought they needed more time. Allen could not be reached Tuesday.
The city of Goldsboro hired an attorney last October at a flat fee of $1,500 and $280 per hour to investigate interactions between Shycole Simpson-Carter, Goldsboro community relations director, and Goldsboro City Councilman Antonio Williams. The report is now ready for review.
The incident stems from a Sept. 27 incident during a Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority Board meeting when Simpson-Carter said Williams verbally attacked her and made her fear for her safety, according to a Jan. 13 article in the News-Argus.
Last November, Simpson-Carter tried to get a restraining order against Williams but was denied because Chief District Court Judge Elizabeth Heath ruled Simpson-Carter’s telling of events did not meet the requirements of the type of restraining order she was seeking.
At that time, Williams denied any wrongdoing.
Lawrence said Tuesday the meeting was being held in closed session because it was a personnel matter. He would not say if it involved an elected official or who the meeting was about.
Simpson-Carter said she thought the report or some form of it should be made public.
“Due to the nature of this, involving special circumstances that also involve an elected official, I believe it should not be kept from the public,” she said. “That would be a stain and would impede our institutional democracy in the city of Goldsboro.”
Simpson-Carter said she would be satisfied if the report was nothing more than a summery that is redacted and doesn’t provide names, references, sources or individuals that provided information.
“I believe it should be put out in the public domain because they have provided a public domain for Councilman Williams to falsely make claims. I think it is of the best interest of the city of Goldsboro, the city employees, and the citizens for there to be full transparency, restoring trust.”
Simpson-Carter said she has not been told if she will be allowed to attend the special called closed session.
“It is a personnel matter,” she said. “Because it is not a criminal matter, I’m able to review the report or have a designee review it. I hope the city leadership allows me the same opportunity as Mr. Williams was allowed.”
Simpson-Carter said she was not asking that the report be released just for her.
“It’s not going to benefit me,” she said. “That’s why I have a legal team. But the city should release the report in the best interest to the citizens and to take a stand for true integrity.”
Williams could not be reached for comment.