Warren responds to removal from DSS Board

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Submitted: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 1:01pm
Updated: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 1:17am

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A day after fellow Brunswick County Commissioners removed him from the county’s Social Services Board, Charles Warren is speaking out. The commissioner sent the following “letter to the editor” to several media outlets this morning:

I want to start by restating my position that the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners lacks the authority to remove a member of the Brunswick County Board of Social Services according to the North Carolina General Statutes, sections 153A-76 and 108A-1, and relevant case law.

That being said, the charges raised by Board of Commissioners do not rise to the level of “good cause” that would otherwise be required to remove me from my position as a member of the Brunswick County Board of Social Services. As there is no North Carolina statute or rule which sets forth any guidelines by which a member of the Board of Social Services can be removed, we can only look to the University of North Carolina School of Government’s Handbook for County Social Services Boards, which suggests grounds for removal which constitute “good cause.” While the Board of Commissioners has not stated which of the grounds listed in that publication my alleged actions would fall under, I will demonstrate why my actions do not constitute “good cause” for my removal.

First, the Board of Commissioners has alleged that I “abused my discretion as DSS Chair by removing members and media representatives from open meetings and threatening members of the DSS board with suspension.” These allegations stem from my removal of fellow Board member Patricia Sykes and Brunswick Beacon reporter Caroline Curran from the December 13, 2011, regularly scheduled meeting of the Social Services Board for disruptive behavior and outbursts.

As you are well aware, I am the Chair of the Social Services Board, and the presiding officer of all official Social Services Board meetings. As stated in the Handbook for County Social Services Boards, “the board’s chair has the implied power and duty to preside at board meetings; to ensure board meetings are conducted fairly, efficiently, and in accordance with the board’s rules of procedure; to recognize members who wish to speak at board meetings; and to rule on motions and questions of procedure at board meetings.”

The North Carolina General Statutes, section 143-318.17 also recognizes the right of the presiding officer of an official meeting to remove a disrupting individual. It reads: “A person who willfully interrupts, disturbs, or disrupts an official meeting and who, upon being directed to leave the meeting by the presiding officer, willfully refuses to leave the meeting is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.”

The acts of both Patricia Sykes and Caroline Curran at December 13, 2011, official meeting of the Social Services Board were, in my opinion as the duly appointed chair, willful interruptions of the meeting, disturbed the meeting agenda, and were disruptive:

Patricia Sykes interrupted my statements and the statements of fellow member David Grimes, while we discussed a motion that Mr. Grimes had brought to the floor. Parliamentary procedure requires the resolution of that issue prior to moving on to a new item on the agenda. While David Grimes and I worked to resolve his motion, Patricia Sykes repeatedly interrupted in an attempt to bring a new item of business to the floor, contrary to procedure. With the approval of at least one other Social Services Board member, and according to my legal duty and responsibility as presiding officer of this official meeting, I ruled Patricia Sykes “out of order” three times in an attempt to: (1) bring order to the meeting; (2) conduct the meeting fairly, efficiently, and in accordance with the rules of procedure; and (3) in an attempt to resolve the pending motion on the floor and therefore allow David Grimes to fully state the circumstances surrounding his motion. Despite my rulings and good faith attempts to bring the meeting to order, Patricia Sykes continued to interrupt and further disrupt the meeting. Faced with my statutory duty to maintain the decorum of the meeting, I instructed Chief Deputy Charlie Miller to escort Patricia Sykes out of the meeting due to her refusal to adhere to my rulings and continued interruptions and disruptive behavior.

At that point, another member of the public, whom I believe to be a friend and supporter of Patricia Sykes, stood up and caused further disruption to the meeting.

Later during the meeting, pursuant to our agenda, a Motion was made to enter a closed session, for purposes permitted by the General Statutes of North Carolina, namely, to discuss personnel issues and possibly consult with an attorney. This caused Caroline Curran, a member of the media, to interrupt and object, accusing the Board of illegally entering closed session. As Chair, it was my understanding of Ms. Curran’s objection that the wrong provisions of the North Carolina General Statutes had been recited, not that the purposes (to discuss personnel issues and possibly consult with an attorney) were inappropriate for a closed session. Ms. Curran was a member of the public and did not have the floor, nor was she on the agenda. Ms. Curran’s outburst, which in my opinion as Chair were factually incorrect, interrupted the meeting, creating further disruption. Accordingly, as Chair, I ruled her out of order. Upon her refusal to cease disruptive behavior, I instructed Chief Deputy Charlie Miller to remove her in order to: (1) bring order to the meeting; (2) conduct the meeting fairly, efficiently, and in accordance with the rules of procedure; and (3) in an attempt to resolve the pending motion on the floor.

I exercised the duties and obligations imposed upon me by law as Chair of the Brunswick County Board of Social Services, under which I have the authority to remove individuals from official meetings, as deemed appropriate by me, in order to insure (sic) that the Board may properly conduct its business. My actions in removing both Patricia Sykes and Caroline Curran from this meeting were taken as part of my legal duties and obligations as Chair of the Brunswick County Board of Social Services. As the duly appointed presiding officer of that meeting, it cannot be said that I took any action which would rise to the level of “good cause” necessary to remove me from the Board of Social Services, even if there were the legal authority to do so.

Second, the Board of Commissioners has alleged that I directed “the unauthorized expenditure of funds for the hiring of a private investigator.” Given the lack of clarity about this particular allegation, I can only assume that it pertains to the circumstances surrounding the personnel action taken by the Board of Social Services against the former director of the Brunswick County Department of Social Services, a personnel action that the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners and the Brunswick County Manager fully supported. Therefore, the facts surrounding this allegation clearly show that it is false and otherwise fails to rise to the level of “good cause” for my removal:

The Board of Social Services has legal duties that require it to “consult with and advise the social services director about problems involving the county social services department,” “discipline or dismiss the county social services director in accordance with the rules and procedures established by the State Personnel Commission,” and “evaluate the social services director’s performance.” The Board of Social Services also has powers that are “reasonably implied by, or incident to, the powers expressly granted to it under state law,” and powers “essential to the accomplishment of the board’s purpose.”

Soon after my appointment to the Board of Social Services, several complaints were brought to the Board’s attention concerning alleged acts of misconduct on the part of the director of the Department of Social Services, and the Board was asked by grieving employees to undertake an investigation of these allegations. It was the Board’s belief that these allegations should be investigated, and as Chair, I spoke with District Attorney Jon David, in the presence of fellow Board member Bernest Hewett, regarding the possibility of an investigation by his office. Mr. David informed me that the District Attorney’s office did not investigate personnel matters. The Board of Social Services would not have the expertise to undertake such an investigation, and accordingly, I made contact with a private investigator and asked him to submit a bid for his services on the issue.

Mr. Orrock, the Director of the Department of Social Services at that time, informed the Social Services Board that the Department had funds available to pay for the investigative services. Accordingly, the Board voted to accept the private investigator’s bid, and Mr. Orrock signed the contract with the investigator. Based upon information developed as a result of the investigation, the Board of Social Services voted unanimously to terminate Mr. Orrock’s employment.

Therefore, I took no independent action “directing the unauthorized expenditure of funds for the hiring of a private investigator.” Rather, the Board voted to accept a bid from a private investigator to assist the Board of Social Services in undertaking an investigation, given that, based on information provided to us from the District Attorney’s office, no law enforcement agency could undertake the investigation of this personnel matter. The Board of Social Services was informed that there were funds available for the costs of this investigation, and the Director of Social Services, Mr. Orrock, executed the contract with the investigator. The Board was unaware from what source Mr. Orrock planned to pay for the investigator’s services.

The Board of Social Services, faced with the legal duty to evaluate the Director’s performance, and discipline or dismiss the director when appropriate, both factually and legally, must have a means to effectively evaluate him and determine if sufficient facts exist that warrant discipline or dismissal. The authority to initiate an investigation is thus “essential to the accomplishment of the board’s purpose,” and “reasonably implied by, or incident to, the powers expressly granted to it under state law.” Accordingly, there was nothing unauthorized about the Board of Social Services hiring an investigator to assist in an investigation of its Director. Again, the Board of County Commissioners and the County Manager’s office, on the basis of the information developed from this investigation, encouraged the Board of Social Services to take action against Mr. Orrock.

As such, there certainly exists no “good cause” for my removal on the basis of the Board of Social Services having hired an investigator to investigate the serious allegations against the Director. The Board of Social Services did not feel comfortable undertaking such an investigation. There was no “intentional expenditure of unauthorized funds,” as the Director informed the Board that the funds existed to hire the investigator, and personally signed the contract.

No cause, much less “good cause,” exists for my removal as a member of the Brunswick County Board of Social Services. I would respectfully request that a copy of this statement be included in the record of these proceedings.

Respectfully submitted,

Charles Warren


  • Guest28451 says:

    #1 SHUT UP every time you openyour mouth you put your foot in it

    #2. If you have any hope of being re-elected (which I hope you dont get re-elected) see #1

    #3. Your constant complaints are starting to make Brian Berger look sane and thats nearly impossible

    #4 We all know you come off as a few cards short of a full deck but it also appears the only cards in your deck are the race card Charlie.. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH… Your own actions paint you as a reverse racist yourself I hope you know that..

    Please do the voters of Brunswick County a favor and get out while you still can although I know your too stubborn and stupid to realize this but you have ZERO and I mean ZERO chance of getting a seat back onthe County Board this fall.. Youve lost every bit of credibility with all your arrogant powertrips and racist rants and total dis-respect for anybody who questions your authority. I dont know who you think you are but your not Marion Barry from Washington DC whoeven after 12yrs as mayor and spending time in jail FINALLY realized when he got back on city council it was better to keep his mouth shut and keep people wondering then to open it and prove the fool he be.

  • Brunswick1764 says:

    If Warren decides to run as an incumbent, he will face two or three candidates in the primary. If ‘smart people’ vote for an alternative to Warren, who comes out with the most votes? While he must be elected to represent the district in which he lives, he is voted for/against by ALL of those that turn out to vote……so yes, Charlie is OUR problem. Assuming he wins the primary, straight ticket voters in this very ‘red’ (political, not neck) county are almost rolling out the red carpet for this man. Let’s not shoot ourselves in the face again on this one folks.

    He does make the 75 cents spent on the Beacon well worth it….doesn’t he? I wonder how much Brunswick County will be billed for that novel of a letter his/their/your/our lawyer wrote for this ‘representative of the people’?

  • Guest2020 says:

    The incident with Patricia Sykes was just the final straw, not the entire issue. He was asked to step down before this because his being the chairman of the DSS board went against the code of ethics that was adopted by the County Commissioners. The same code of ethics that he vote in favor of. The incident with Sykes was just the catalyst that drove the county commissioners to take action. Charles Warren will definitely not be getting my vote.

  • taxpayer says:

    paying additional income to the members in addition to what the Commissioner already is paid?

  • A Concerned Citizen says:

    Mr Warrens’s inability to accept any ideas that differ from his cause him to interpret such disagreement as disruption. His belief that being Chairman of the DDS Board gives him dictatorial rule over their decisions has been the real disruption of good governing by that Board. His total lack of sound judgement and super ego have closed his mind to seeing that he is his own worse enemy. The voters will send him packing if he dares run again. However knowing his tendency for grandiosity, he probably thinks this mess he has created makes him a good candidate for higher office.

  • Citizen of the Republic says:

    Well, it’s finally come to Brunswick County.

    The Arab Springs of last year have shown us the way to succeed.

    Brunswick’s Spring has begun and the times are a changing.

    Politicians, and public employees take note….”we are on a roll”.

    Work for the people, or resign, or your going to be thrown out on your ears by the County’s people.

    Congrats on a job well started.

  • Guest25879 says:

    Just kidding!! Made you look!

  • Good<}heartnmind says:

    Why dont you just go back to your Danielle Steele novels since you know nothing about politics, Brian Berger, Social Services, the law…shall I continue?

    Nah. you’re a nobody who’s not worth it. just a coward out for attention attacking a relentless, caring to the point of not sleeping when there are people asking for help from their leaders, that’s Berger. (Other Commissioners don;t take calls after 6:00 or earlier and work for themeselves and cronies, contract seekers, but Berger’s different and has been more than a witchhunt victim, he’s been stripped of his teeth by the media and burned at the stake by the seedy people he has to work with on the BOC, but its the sheriff who chained him and Ben David and Lilliam Salcines who lit the blaze and have let him burn (Berger brought some gas, not smart, but no excuse for how he’s been treated by the media, public, and the ones who “protect” rare elected officials like Berger, the few trying to help their fellow humans and neighbors from government abuse and all the corruption specifically the DAs office and police and law enforcement(Head Start, c’mon, that is just crazy that the sheriff’s deputy didn’t arrest him, cite him, berger is clearly no threat, but gets arrested for Head Start’s corruption while the people who stole that money are protected by Ben David, Sandra Criner, Salcines, media, WPD, the Sheriff. and ignorant aimless people like you. The world is in chaos and you can only attack someone over grammar? That is Pathetic.

  • Missy says:

    Oh Charles Warren DID NOT write this letter. I’m sure that his attorney did and Mr Warren just signed his name to it.

    You only have to attend a County Commission meeting and listen to him speak to understand clearly this man’s lack of education and emotional stability.

  • Embarrassed in New Hanover says:

    With no regard to the content of Mr. Warren’s letter, I think he should be hired by us repulsed New Hanover County citizens to instruct Brian Berger in grammar….or ensure Mr. Berger can operate a computer writing program….or at least use spell check!

  • Grand Ole Party says:

    I’ll tell you what’s even more pathetic……You!! Someone sure pulled he wool over your eyes. Wake up moron. Berger is a complete idiot. He is a train wreck.

  • Challengetheworld says:

    There are only three Berger supporters left, so which one is it? Berger himself, Josh Fulton or Ben McCoy?

    Berger should be in a long term mental health facility. Wonder why he takes calls after 6:00pm? BECAUSE HE DOESNT HAVE A JOB THE REST OF THE DAY! If you have a shred of evidence that Berger isn’t completely off his gord, present it, otherwise go away…. Berger is the worst thing ever to happen to the greater Wilmington area.

    But as you stated above….EVERYONE ELSE is corrput but not Berger? The one who was milking a DC unemployment check while being in office down here? The one who slit his wrists then called his girlfriend to tell her about it? The one who drove without a license, got into a wreck, had no insurance and still has the audacity to SHOW UP in a public forum?

    Berger = Complete Violation of Public Trust

  • QTPI says:

    Listen folks and you shall hear the sounds of a collective sigh of relief from the citizens of Brunswick county. The people have spoken.
    Hopefully this is just the beginning of our “spring cleaning”.

  • GuestRumblefish says:

    If only that Mr. Warren were truly as articulate as this letter makes him seem, there would be NO issue that his removal is wrong. The videos unfortunately show a bullying buffoon IGNORAMUS who lacks even the smallest skills to serve in any responsible capacity anywhere.

  • Grand Ole Party says:

    Stop cackling already. There was good cause to remove you!! You’re nothing more than an ignorant, racist. Enough with the race card, it’s 2012. Move on. You nor anyone you know was ever subjected to slavery. You have been given plenty of opportunities and you chose to squander them away with racist nonsense. You are all about YOU. Enough already. Please just leave and don’t come back.

  • Challengetheworld says:

    Mr. Warren:

    The citizens of Brunswick County have voiced their opinion on you sir! We do not want you meddling in our Social Services affairs any longer! There is more then sufficent cause to justify them removing you on the basis of a conflict of interest. If you need a definiton on that, I suggest you consult your attorney.

    Please, stop wasting our tax payer money that requires us to defend good people aginst your unjustified claims. The issue is void of any issues regarding yourself, your personality, your racial, ethical, educational or other background/basis. It’s simply as stated before, a conflit of interest. This should not be something difficult to understand for someone holding a public office.

  • Challengetheworld says:

    …an attorney.

  • Guest 4545 says:

    If Charles Warren wrote the press release submitted to local news outlets this morning, he too must have authored War and Peace and all other major literary works in publication. This guy can’t string three words together. Somebody wrote that press release for him.

  • guesty says:

    Can’t he see he has overstayed his welcome and needs to quietly fade out and save what little dignity he may still have.

  • nchilltopper says:

    This letter was absolutely NOT written by Charles Warren. Charlie W. couldn’t write one paragraph of this very well written letter. Give thanks to his Lawyer.

  • anne says:

    Goodbye Mr. Warren – move on now and let someone take over that has our best interests at heart.

    When things are going wrong, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. You were the problem, now you are the solution!

  • We are so many years past the racial riots , segregation, slavery, and racism problems. Why do black people still use this as an excuse for everything that happens to them ? You can’t blame everything on white people. What if every time a white person got booted from public office he said the black people on the board didn’t like him? How fast would we all get sick of hearing that? If you stay on the board for 25 years or hold the office for 25 years, do you ” thank” the white people for letting you be there? Ummmmmmm, no, you don’t. But if you get booted, it’s ALL 100% percent the white people, right? Think about it.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    He is a victim of his own victim mentality.

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