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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Pender County Health Department seems to be having a tough time getting things together. WWAY sat down with County Commissioner and Health Board member George Brown to discuss the controversy surrounding county employee Shirley Steele and other issues.

After the personnel file of Steele was released, it seemed to shine her in a very negative light. Brown says Steele did nothing wrong and the information released was inaccurate.

“There were things that were put in the personnel file that may not actually be true,” said Brown.

As a nursing supervisor last year for the Pender County Health Department, Steele was suspended without pay and written up after reportedly not following protocol with a patient.

“The fact of the matter is, she did nothing wrong,” said Brown.

Since then she has been compensated for her suspension time and reassigned to Bioterrorism and Natural Disasters.

Brown says Steele was wrongly accused and had followed protocol.

“It did not matter to me who the employee was or who the individual is,” said Brown. “If someone comes after them without facts and is going to falsely accuse them of something or try to take pay away from them, or try to demote them, then I’m going to stand up for that individual.”

The Steele controversy isn’t the only issue within the Health Department. Five board members recently resigned and many of them sighted Brown as their reason for leaving.

“They had their opportunity,” said Brown. “They messed things up. All I hear are complaining, sad sacks, and these folks just trying to make it impossible for us. Bottom line, we’re in the best position we’ve been in a long time.”

It’s also been nearly a year since the board has had a permanent health director, but Brown says they are moving forward in finding a candidate.

“I cannot wait until we get a health director in here that can actually do their job and take care of the business that the health department needs to take care of,” said Brown.

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