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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Some members of the Pender County Health Board say they are sick and tired of the way things are being handled, and they’ve had enough. Since last Friday, five board members, including chair Terri King, have resigned.

It seems the board can’t get its act together. One leader says he’s taking the blame for the board’s issues.

“The commissioners started looking at areas that we needed to make cuts or where we could justify or not justify the budget,” Pender County Commissioner George Brown said. “The Health Department was one of those areas, and there were a lot of resentfully feelings and behavior once the commissioners started doing that.”

Brown serves on the 10-person Board of Health. He has been working with the members to select a new health director since September. The process has been less than successful.

“It’s not really fair to blame one person,” Brown said. “There’s a combination of problems here, and that board carries as much responsibility. Each and every member on that board carries responsibility. I’m only one vote.”

In resignation letters several board members say they blame Brown for the board’s problems. Dr. Heather O’Brien writes in her letter of resignation, “It has become apparent that upon Chairman Brown’s designation to our board that progress has been impeded dramatically.”

Brown says he thinks the Health Board needs someone to blame for its dysfunction.

“If they need someone to attack for their lack of decision or their lack of ability to hire someone, it looks like that’s what they’ve done,” he said.

Brown says no one has been dragging their feet to find a new health director. He says the county commissioners have bent over backwards to help, but he does not think anyone wants to be a part of the drama.

“I think a lot of folks have heard about the problems we’ve had in Pender County and just frankly are not interested in getting in the middle of this,” Brown said.

Brown says the County Commission plans to start accepting applications for new Health Board members soon. He says he thinks they need a strong board before they can get a new health director.

The Health Department has been without a director since Jack Griffith retired in September, ending an ugly series of battles among him, the staff and the Board of Health.

Comment on this Story

  • SurfCityTom

    in confusion, there are opportunities.

    I believe that’s how Tony Curtis phrased it.

  • ESPY

    How on earth do the interim health director and county leadership not advise the staff at the health department of the resignations of their governing body? How on earth do you let these dedicated employees that have endured so much yet still remain there, go home and see this on the news when you knew 3 days prior? What kind of leader did you put in that building? After all that has happened, it is safe to assume that you finally got your “yes” person. The staff asked again and again what was going on with the press outside the building, to receive no response.

    This was her first big test at leadership and she failed miserably. At some point you people will have to start treating that staff with some respect. They are very dedicated to serving the public and do an outstanding job given the barriers that you continue to put in their way. Yet all you guys do is shoot them down and beat them up at every opportunity. This county leadership is getting more and more pathetic with every passing day. As every week and month passes that you oppress these people they will all continue walking out that door, as so many already have along with half of the governing body. Perhaps the county leadership should all get a mirror and ask who really is the problem here?

  • Guest Apu

    Strange things are afoot at the Circle K…

  • SurfCityTom

    and articles last fall when Dr. Jack was put up as a sacrifical goat.

    The very things taking place now were predicted way back then. It was specifically noted there would be no qualified professional applying given the politial circus which is taking place. Or if one did become available, he or she would want compensation so high the County could not afford the price.

    Is the Health Department better run since Dr. Jack was pushed off the plank? Hardly.

    Will the Board of Health and a couple of Commissioners stand up to Mr. Brown and say enough is enough?

    Does anyone miss Dr. Jack?


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