An investigation into harassment claims involving a city employee and City Council member may be reviewed in a special called meeting.
Goldsboro City Council will conduct the meeting at 3 p.m. Thursday in City Hall Addition, 200 N. Center St., to discuss the results of the investigation that involved a city employee and city councilman.
Ron Lawrence, city attorney, could not be reached for comment.
The city sent out an email notice of the meeting Tuesday afternoon, but it did not say what the meeting was about.
The city 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 investigation stemmed from a Sept. 27, 2018, 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 news reports.
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.
During the April 15 City Council work session, the city attorney asked the board to call a closed session at the end of the meeting to discuss the 78-page report of the investigation.
But Mayor Chuck Allen said the board had not seen the report and thought they needed more time.
The board tried to reschedule the meeting for April 22, but conflicts in scheduling put it off.
At the end of Monday’s work session, City Council conducted a closed session a little longer than an hour to discuss a personnel and a litigation issue and did not take any action when members reconvened.
Simpson-Carter said after the April meeting she thought the report or some form of it should be made public.
Amanda Martin, general counsel to the North Carolina Press Association, said in April that a City Council closed session to consider and discuss a report that might be on alleged harassment by a member of the board toward a city employee should not entirely be discussed behind closed doors.
“The law is crystal clear that a public body cannot discuss performance of a member of that public body in closed session,” Martin said.
However, it’s a little complicated because the city employee does have personnel protection, she said.
“But I think it breaks down that portions of any report and discussion about the elected official must be released upon request and take place in open,” Martin said. “But the portions of any report and discussion about the public employee can be withheld from release and done in closed session.”
After Thursday’s public review, councilmen will go into closed session to discuss a personnel matter, according to the notice from City Hall.