Brunswick Co. Commissioners vote to start investigation for code of ethics violation
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- A Brunswick County Commissioner is sticking to his guns when it comes to stepping down from the county's Department of Social Services board. The county voted to adopt a code of ethics and a code of conduct policy in December requiring county commissioners to resign from their boards to avoid any conflict of interest.

Brunswick County Commissioners agree Charles Warren could be in violation of the codes and the board is now moving forward with censure proceedings.

Warren claims county commissioners are targeting him.

"I'm feeling again that this is designed to target me and I don't know why you want to target me," said Warren. "I feel that based on the law that I'm not in violation so there would be no reason for me to step down."

Warren currently serves as the county's DSS chairman. The commissioner also served on the county's Juvenile Crime Prevention Council and announced his resignation to the JCPC in the beginning of the year in an email saying, "JCPC Board, I have enjoyed working with the board since my appointment. Due to the new county code of conduct and code of ethics policy, I will be in violation if I continue to serve. I am resigning from the board effective immediately."

But when it comes to stepping down from the DSS board, Warren refuses and commissioners just don't understand why.

"Why is it that this board is so special to you that you think it's above serving as a commissioner of Brunswick County?" asked Phil Norris, who is the Brunswick County Commissioner Vice-Chairman.

Warrens says a state law authorizes him to stay with his position at DSS. In previous county commission meetings, Warren's stated numerous times that no other county exercises a similar stipulation requiring commissioners to step down from their board positions for fear of conflict of interest, but majority of the commissioners see no problem stepping outside the box compared to other counties' codes.

Monday night's vote means the county staff will launch an investigation and determine whether to hold a censure hearing from the information collected. A censure is a formal, written documentation and it does not stop warren from continuing to vote on the board.

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Everyone's reporting he won't step down, but no one's reporting exactly what his conflict of interest is. If it's being on the Juvenile board and he's resigned from that position, what's the complaint? If there's another conflict of interest, then we should know and yes, even the appearance of conflict should be addressed. Until that has been done, however, it only reeks of intimidation. Oh by the way, I'm not Black.

The Juvenile Board was a different board he was on and resigned from based on the Code of Ethics. He voted for the Code of Ethics and then turned around and said he read it but no one explained it to him. The only board that a commissioner is allowed to serve on is one that has a legal mandate that a commissioner serve on it and the DSS board does not have that mandate.