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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Pender County employee has been charged with releasing confidential personnel records to the media. The Pender County Sheriff’s Office charged James Thomas Bellizzi with a class 3 misdemeanor.

Earlier this month, WWAY and other media outlets received records belonging to Pender County Health Department employee Shirley Steele.

The Sheriff’s Office investigated the leak. The investigation led deputies to Bellizzi, who works in the Health Department’s Environmental Health Division.

A magistrate issued a criminal summons for Bellizzi yesterday. He is due in court August 24.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest421

    Isn’t the personnel file info public record anyway?

  • Guest Apu

    Only very limited information is public record. NC has very strict laws restricting exactly what information in a personnel file can be released to the public. Basically, the only thing that is public is hire date, separation date, and salary information.

  • Coincidence?

    I find it very hard to believe that Mr. Belizzi would do this. I have met him on numerous occasions at my restaurant and he is a good person… I do find it very coincidental however that he and Ms Steele work together in the same office. I think she and her boyfriend Mr Brown is trying to ruin this man! She probably is doing all this to make people think she is just an innocent victim. She leaked her own file people!! I hope Hades has a special spot for Shirley, Anne Baker, and George Brown next to the furnace where its extra hot.

  • Bellizzi for Commissioner!

    Thank you, Mr. Bellizzi for alerting the citizens of this county to this public health nuisance. This nurse should have been dismissed for all of these actions. She got off way too easy by Dr. Jack Griffith, and later by the next health director after receiving the NC Board of Nursing letter of concern. After reading about these incidents of what appears to be sheer negligence and the lives she put in danger, it certainly would not be a stretch to think that she has had many similar incidents occur.

    Since the commissioners think this leak was important enough to commit the sheriff’s department to investigate, one would think they would be all over having this woman investigated for the lives she has placed in harm’s way. Whether it is purposeful and negligent, or simple ignorance she should be removed from the Pender County Health Department where our tax dollars pay her salary. If some private doctor wants to hire her, so be it. But my tax dollars should not pay her to negligently or ignorantly harm the citizens of this county.

  • Curious tax payer

    How about a health department employee or someone that knows one, let the public know if the interim health director actually bows to Commissioner Chairman George Brown’s demands and creates the nurse director job and puts Shirley Steele in it! This woman is a danger to society! If this happens, we will know that something “special” or corrupt is truly going on with Brown and Steele. There will be no other explanation for placing this dangerous woman in a director position created solely for her and paying her with our tax dollars during an economically deprived year at a time that the physicians have left the health department along with the majority of their patients!

  • suspicious

    I totally agree that Mr. Bellizi is a good man. Something here just does not add up. Knowing the players in this Puppet Show that has a Peyton Place feel, I believe that,at the least, there must be a set up somewhere. With that being said, this still does not take away the undeniable fact that,at last, the real dysfunctional Shirley Steele was exposed! But to think that was only a peek…

  • Curious

    I think it would be great if WWAY TV would investigate the lies that Mrs. Steele repeated in TV interviews on channel 3 and other channels: Illicit drugs in the health department (a lie); fraud in the health department (a lie); and misappropriation of health department funds (a lie). TV 3 could start with the following law to investigate as a Class 2 misdemeanor Mrs. Steele’s admission to the BOH that she had no factual data to support her claims.

    § 130A 26.2. Penalty for false reporting under Article 9.
    Any person who knowingly makes any false statement, representation, or certification in any application, record, report, plan, or other document filed or required to be maintained under Article 9 of this Chapter or rules adopted under Article 9 of this Chapter; or who knowingly makes a false statement of a material fact in a rule making proceeding or contested case under Article 9 of this Chapter; or who falsifies, tampers with, or knowingly renders inaccurate any recording or monitoring device or method required to be operated or maintained under Article 9 of this Chapter or rules adopted under Article 9 of this Chapter is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. The maximum fine that may be imposed for an offense under this section is ten thousand dollars ($10,000). (1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 598, s. 3.)

    I also think it would be good for TV 3 to investigate in detail the release of the so-called personnel file. It is quite clear from a reading of the law that the personnel file was not released, but only a selected component that dealt with the suspension and reassignment of Mrs. Steele.


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