5 Comments for this article

Tags: , , ,


BALD HEAD ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — Documents and e-mails are shedding some new light on what may have led to the resignation of Bald Head Island’s Public Safety Chief.

The Village of Bald Head Island requested an external audit of its public safety department. It may have received more than it expected.

In March, Bald Head Island Village Manager Calvin Peck contacted Leonard Matarese of ICMA to perform the first audit of the public safety services since the village formed the department in 2009. In the e-mail Peck outlined that it was time for an external review of the department to “get better, leaner, and less expensive.”

BHI paid ICMA $7,000 to perform the audit, which was released in July. The report summarized that crime was low on the island, and that structure fires only occurred every 18 months.

But it said that due to the high value of personal property on the island, maintaining a highly visible law enforcement presence is critical to tourism, which sustains the island’s economy. It also recommended that police officers be cross-trained as firefighters to save the village money.

In a follow-up email sent August 11, Matarese told Peck that “we were not hired to do an investigation of personnel; we were actually to review the operations of the public safety department.”

He then writes, “we addressed the operational issues. The problem there (the Public Safety Department) appears to be managerial/HR related not operational.”

Six days later, the village placed Public Safety Chief Jerome “Chip” Munna on administrative leave. He resigned September 5.

Bald Head Island Communications Director Karen Ellison told WWAY by phone today that the village has not taken any steps to address the recommendations in the report. She said village leaders won’t address any questions about the report until a new public safety chief is in place.

Comment on this Story

  • Wilmington Observer

    The headline was provocative, “Documents, Emails Shed Light on BHI Chief’s Resignation”. However, the story shed no light other than to report that there was an audit. If WWAY has “documents and emails” that tell the reporter a story, then I hope the reporter will tell those of us, who have not seen the “documents and emails” the story.

    Wilmington Observer

  • Guestopinion

    Maybe you should attend the upcoming council meeting this Friday on Bald Head Island. It should be extremely informative when the citizens get time to speak.

  • Guestbhi

    The emails that the reporter uncovered were from ICMA and stated that the study’s goal was to review organizational structure, not personnel. This is a little butt covering for them, but they allowed confidential information given in the presence of Karen Ellison to be used for personnel issues so they do have culpability. The Village Manager and Karen used this study which the Village has no written contract for, but an PO for 7,000- 2000.00 over budget. Then to continue their witch hunt, Karen concocted a questionnaire to administer to the Public Safety Staff. She did not let them fill it out or think about their answers. She recorded their answers on the questionnaire for them. Unfortunately, we have been unable to get this blank document under the sunshine laws although it by itself contains no personnel information. The questions asked were like:
    Have you ever heard Chip Munna cuss at work?
    The reporters are also trying to get this document so people will really know what is going on in our Village Hall.

  • Guest28403

    because as far as I knew BHI was cross training personel already wanting ideally “Public Safety Officers” to be both trained in BLET as well as Firefighter I & II (Ideally) when hiring personel..

  • the truth will set you free

    Anyone that has met Karen Ellison knows she is a bright individual that cares how the public sees her. Clearly!


Related News

BHI Village Manager Chris McCall (Photo: Village of Bald Head Island)
3 months ago
0 Comments for this article
BHI appoints new village manager
Read More»
Calvin Peck
Photo: VillageBHI.org
4 months ago
1 Comments for this article
FIRST ON 3: Bald Head Island Village Manager resigns
Read More»
5 months ago
2 Comments for this article
Read More»