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ONLY ON 3: Former fire chief says something strange about Pender audit delay

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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Pender County is nine months behind on its annual audit. In the last two months the county manager and the finance director resigned, but some taxpayers say they lost trust in their government long before that.

Pender County resident and former Surf City Volunteer Fire Chief Demetrius Batts says weird things have been going on in the county for the past three years.

"I can stand here today and tell you that I cannot trust all of them," Batts said. "No, I cannot."

Batts says it all began when he was forced to retire as chief from the volunteer fire station that's right next door to his house when the county started consolidating the volunteer fire stations into the county fire stations.

"A lot of the taxpayers didn't know what was going on," he said.

Then the county came in and built a privacy fence between his house and the fire station. He says it's just gotten worse.

"With the county manager leaving and the county finance director leaving, I would say so, yes," Batts said.

Batts decided he wanted to know where his tax dollars were being spent.

The county was supposed to submit its annual audit back in October. Interim Finance Director Mike Apple says he's not sure why the audit has just now been sent to officials for review.

"I can't say for sure," Apple said. "I just know that the finance officer apparently was not getting the books in shape for the auditor to come in and audit them."

None of the county commissioners wanted to go on camera, but Commissioner Fred McCoy says this will not happen again.

The county will review the first draft of the 2013 audit monday before it is released to the public.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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pender crooks

vote for someone with no ties to the area east of I-40 and we might see a change!!!!Hampstead, Topsail and Surf City do not make up Pender County regardless of how they act!!! I would like to see some tax dollars spent on the inland side for a change......

Vote IN November!!!!

I am a current employee of many years and find that there are a lot of things stinking in Pender County Government. It appears that if you say the right words you can get anything you want and money is no object. Please take a look at the proposed budget that I was told by the county managers office is the one approved by the commission. Look at page 41 (Board of County Commission/Governing Body) 13/14 salary and benefits (50,070) 14/15 proposed recommendation (74,362). My question is did the county commission give themselves a $5,000 a year raise? I have not been able to get the answer as I called and asked to see the final budget and was told that the recommended budget was approved. No it is not right for them to take the money from their expense budget and put it in salary. (this is the explanation you will get) Why should they be any different that any of the rest of us who have gotten nothing for years.
If you read the proposed budget you will see that there are many departments that did not get the requested help they asked for but the fair haired Health Director who seems to ride in George Brown's back pocket got plenty of needed help and upgrades for her employees.
@ page 64 - SIX added positions to the tune of $232,000 in new salary at the Health Department.
@ page 65 - HEATH DEPARTMENT ADMINISTRATION added salary of $52,949. ???? (no additional staff) (Raise?)
@ page 66 - ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH added salary of $10,995. (no additional staff)
@ page 67 - FAMILY PLANNING add a part time person $23,475.
@ page 69 - CHILD HEALTH add salary $12,155. (no additional staff)
@ page 70 - CARE COORDINATION FOR CHILDREN added salary $10,917 (no additional staff)
@ page 71 - IMMUNIZATION added salary of $6638 (no additional staff)
@ page 72 - WIC added salary of $18,249 (no additional staff)
@ page 75 - MATERNAL HEALTH added salary $20,640
@ page 78 - DENTAL HEALTH added salary $65,806 (moved 2 people from contract to full-time)
@ page 82 - ADULT HEALTH added salary $95,669 (added 1 contract and one part time position)
@ page 84 - ANIMAL SHELTER added salary $95,669 (added 3 positions)
Expense budget went up $77,000 from 2013/14 budget.
The question I pose is not do these department need additional staff. The question I have is why do not all the department heads deserve the right to treat their employees to salary increases and additional staff to help with the jobs they have at hand? Why does it seem that the only department that heard the word yes from the commissioners was the Health Department?
EXAMPLES
@ page 86 - SOCIAL SERVICES No additional positions and no additional salary has been asked for by the same person who manages both the Health and Social Services agency which was a major slap in the face to Dr. Rita Shivar whom is a very qualified person.

@ page 46 - INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICES requested 4 additional employees and were denies all 4.
@ page 52 - PARKS AND RECREATION asked for 3 additional employees and were denied all 3.
@ page 55 - PUBLIC WORKS asked for an additional 2 employees and were denied both.
@ page 61 - ANIMAL CONTROL cut their operating budget from $44,700 to $34,500 and denied reclassification of a long time employee.
@ page 59 - SHERIFF asked for 13 positions and was denied 12 of those positions.

*****WAKE UP PENDER COUNTY RESIDENTS*****It is apparent that the Pender County Commissioners care all about the Health Department but could care less if you have a DEPUTY on duty to help you in the event someone tried to break in your home and attack you!
They will give your tax dollars to provided a variety of services that you will not qualify for if you are a working citizen, but will not give you a qualified law enforcement officer who will not have to drive 50 miles to come to help you, or lets be honest take the report after the fact because the sheriff is not allowed to hire the staff he needs. Get a clue people this is the man we elected to keep up safe and he felt that additional staff and employee reassignments were necessary and the county commissioners thumbed their nose at him.

Sheriff Smith can not get the job done without the backing. He wanted to hire the help and the commissioners told him he did not need it!!!!!

Vote For Sheriff Smith and vote against THE BOARD!!!!

Amen to all of that

I know I need to vote but don't want to put the same old same old back in. None of the candidates have impressed me. Will be praying on this and hopefully when the time comes I will know.

Commissioner trouble

We desperately need the people of pender to come out and vote for new leadership & just attend a few board meetings & you'll will see the juvenile approach to the hilarity of these meetings. Nothing gets accomplished & nothing ever changes in pender county. Do people not understand why people leave the county? It's government "commissioners" are a joke, they are biased, prejudiced & want to cometely get rid of the welfare services in this county. Does it not bother anyone else that commissioner Williams has 3 DUI's and now our county attorney Thurman has one as well? Is this allowed? How are they still in positions of power, when this goes on? How has Williams not been removed from the board? Where's the accountability? These are the people YOU have elected to run your county. Everyone should be ashamed of themselves!

Amazed and Concerned

I am amazed (not really) that Pender County is in this shape, it only takes a person one visit to a board meeting or one time viewing the Board meetings online to realize that the county is in trouble just by viewing the leadership that is running the county. The commissioners seem to have their own personal agenda weather it be Commissioner Brown with his agenda to dissolve the Health Department, or his new agenda to dissolve the Department of Social Services, or his unwarranted input on Personnel issues to Commissioner Tate with his Al Sharpton approach to needing more respect to holding behind the scene meetings to stick his nose in the business of the school system. Poor Commissioner McCoy is so lost in his position he can't make a statement without the approval of Commissioner Brown, Commissioner Ward is a lame duck but really has been since coming on board. Commissioner Williams appears to try but working with the others sometimes he also tends to focus on issues other than those of running the county. At times it is quite comical to view, but most times it of grave concern that the future of Pender County rest in the hands of these commissioners. I encourage the local news outlets to do some digging, find out how much money is unaccounted for in the audit, find out why the books wouldn't reconcile for the audit, find out who is working in the finance office of Pender County and find out when the commissioners truly found out there was an issues. I think answering those question will be quite surprising.

The elections for seats will take place in November I encourage the residents of Pender to really consider who returns, also to educate them self with the candidates for the new district and make an educated decision regardless of party the future of Pender County depends on these leaders. It disheartens me that there will not be a candidate to face commissioner Tate this time around.

Really?

Just shut up already. Really? So you want to encourage the news media to do some digging? What do you think this "post a comment" about a story is about"

This is our lame local news media at its best trying to start something to get people all fire up over nothing. Yeah some of our commissioners are lame, and drunks and they should be held accountable for their actions. If they were to be police officers, or even a us mail delivery driver and got a DWI they would be fired, but if you are an attorney, judge or a county commissioner, then you are ok. Yes it is bull crap, but that is the world we live in.

I do agree that people need to get to know this candidates including our justice system like the DA's Office and go vote in November, but please keep the media out of it, they always get the story wrong and the only thing they want to do is cause problems.

There were embezzlement

There were embezzlement theories of the local volunteer Fire Departments, and I think they come out with Hampstead VFD being one as well as SCVFD, but no one knows how much truth there is there..

pender

D. Thomas: you really have wrong information. Hampstead has not embelzelled.any monies. There was.a.chief over10 years ago that stole. That Dept recovered. If any wrong doing was done. It was when the commissioners and pender ems schemed together this merger that has no more benifit to tax payers. That is the big problem with pender county. Tax payers need to know the truth and the lies that is going on.

Pender

Mr Pender,

I strongly disagree that the merger of Pender ems and the fire departments has not changed anything. The Hampstead, Sloop Point and Long Creek districts now have 3 24hr paid firefighters on staff instead of 2 like before ( long creek had 0 paid staff). Also they have consolidated 2 ems stations into the Hampstead and sloop point fire departments which IS SAVING YOU MONEY. Plus if you haven't noticed there's a new station in Scotts hill which will even further improve the emergency services response. As far as the whole commissioner thing goes I have no idea.