The president of the Goldsboro/Wayne branch of the NAACP asked for the city manager's resignation Monday after he failed to discipline the police chief for his Facebook activity supporting President Donald Trump.
President Sylvia Barnes also criticized city leaders for not addressing the NAACP's main issue that raised concern within the organization and the community.
"We are here tonight to say to the entire council and the citizens of Goldsboro that on this day, Monday, March 6, 2017, that we will not accept the statement made by our city manager that he will not be disciplined," Barnes said during Monday's council meeting.
"I want to say that I think the city, the city council and the leadership has not done its job."
Barnes asked for City Manager Scott Stevens' resignation, due to his repeated stance that Goldsboro Police Chief Mike West did not violate the city's personnel policy.
"We ask for his resignation as of this night," Barnes said. "We feel that he's not capable of leading this city of Goldsboro and showing what should be done to every citizen, every organization and every employee.
"We want to say, we are not going away. We will march. We will rally. We will do whatever we have to do to make sure that some action is taken in this case."
In January, a Trump likeness photo of West was added as his profile picture and West wrote, Making Goldsboro PD Great Again, in the comment feed.
At the time, West said his social media activity was meant to be comical and not intended to offend anyone. He has apologized several times, verbally to NAACP leaders and publicly in a written letter. He also deactivated his Facebook site shortly after the incident.
NAACP held a press conference, in January, demanding city leadership action, including disciplinary action against West. Concerns were raised that West's social media activity signaled a return to racial discrimination.
Trump's campaign slogan, Make America Great Again, also became a divisive issue during the presidential campaign, which led to racial tensions across the nation.
Barnes told the council Monday that the NAACP never asked for a specific type of discipline but left the decision up to city leaders. Failing to take any action brought concern from several NAACP leaders, which spoke during the council's public comment period to a near capacity Council Chambers at City Hall.
Barnes said the NAACP is not satisfied, even after city leaders met with NAACP leaders several times and developed a detailed plan of action in response to the concerns.
The plan, which Stevens presented to council during an earlier work session Monday, includes seeking national accreditation for the police department, an updated social media policy, diversity training, town hall meetings and increased community policing.
Francine Smith, NAACP second vice president, said that the city's plan of action missed the point.
"The plans put forth by the city manager do little more than paper with the issue and do not address this culture," Smith said. "We need plans that address changing a culture, not just training and programs."
She also criticized the city manager for not fully understanding the concerns West's social media activity raised within the community.
"Our city manager still does not understand why this issue is upsetting to our community, why it is an indication of a culture in need of change and why the main demand of the Goldsboro/Wayne NAACP, which was to have some disciplinary action against the chief was critical in moving this city forward, past this issue and onto solving the problems of race and racism and the culture of our police department and city manager."
Mark Colebrook, NAACP first vice president, disagreed with the manager's assessment that West had not violated city policies.
Colebrook handed out copies of the city personnel policy defining detrimental personal conduct. One of the descriptions listed includes an employee who creates an inharmonious work environment through demeaning behavior. Colebrook highlighted the policy's recommended response of suspension.
"You keep saying it doesn't violate any city policy, but it actually does," Colebrook said. "It is time for the city council to take action and regain the trust of the community that has slowly eroded over time."
He also said that city leaders need to focus more on the welfare of city residents instead of projects, including downtown development and balancing the budget.
The council didn't take any action following the statements made by leaders of the NAACP.
"I'm sorry this has gotten blown out of proportion," Mayor Chuck Allen said this morning. "We are never going to agree on what they're wanting us to do with chief West."
Allen said that the council will not support removing the city manager, which requires a majority vote of the council.
"The majority of the city council would not be in favor of that," Allen said. "Like all of us, he is not a perfect city manager, but he's a good city manager."
Allen said he wants to find ways to move the city forward and beyond the NAACP concerns that can't be met by the city manager or council.