ONLY ON 3: Scandal deepens as former Bald Head Island employee speaks out

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Submitted: Tue, 09/02/2014 - 3:11am
Updated: Tue, 09/02/2014 - 3:16pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The controversy over Bald Head Island staff issues deepens. Nine people have now been punished for policy violations at Bald Head. A former employee says little there is what it seems though.

“For it to go this far that kind of threw me for a loop,” said “Joe,” a former employee who asked not to be identified.

Joe says what’s happening at Bald Head Island is inexcusable. The public safety department was rocked by scandal after 9 employees were reprimanded or fired for what Bald Head is calling inappropriate electronic communication on personal cell phones.

Though Bald Head Island’s personnel policy doesn’t appear to govern that, Joe says he’s speaking out in hopes of starting to set the record straight.

“This is just to open their eyes that there’s something bigger going on here,” he said, “It’s like a toxic environment almost.”

Joe says the work environment is toxic because of administration. We asked if it started at the top with village manager Calvin Peck. “Yes, I believe so. I believe so,” he said.

Joe says he was a supervisor with the public safety department. It is a department that combines police, fire and EMS. He says though they are cross-trained, their training isn’t enough to make employees feel comfortable if they ever have to use their training.

“It was either ‘do it my way or you’re out of here’ and when they would say ‘do it my way’ that way wouldn’t be right sometimes,” he said.

He says the officers involved in the recent controversy are just a few of the people let go.
Sources confirm the number of people who have left the 21 person department in 5 years is at 30 and counting.

We reached out to Bald Head Island Mayor Andy Sayre for comment on these issues. He has not returned our phone calls.

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5 Comments on "ONLY ON 3: Scandal deepens as former Bald Head Island employee speaks out"

2015 years 8 months ago

More than two years. Look at how many employees have been let go since securing his position.

2015 years 8 months ago

I find it interesting that this transpired close to the end of the year. Does administration want to save money perhaps? Maybe the goal is to staff with lower paid part time employees who don’t receive benefits or overtime pay. I’d bet these were some of the higher paid employees on the island. Administration at BHI is well known for driving their agenda by stepping on the heads of employees. It is egregious that they not only terminated stellar employees dedicated to keeping the island safe and healthy but then slandered them in the media in a pathetic attempt to control the story. I would venture to say that the text of employees in question was nothing more the humor and comradarie amongst guys who do intense work. It’s unfortunate that those empower manipulated it into something malicious. At best a warning would have been sufficient.
I hope a lawsuit and investigation clear these gentleman and that the island pays reparation for the damage they have done to these public servants and their families.

2015 years 8 months ago

Thank you for pursuing this story. “Joe” is telling you the truth. Please investigate the personnel policy document which is a public document. The sexual harassment charges are sure to be challenged. And if “discourteous treatment of fellow employees” is reason for firing, Peck should have been fired two years ago.

2015 years 8 months ago

The people replaced one council member last year, leaving one more to replace. Maybe then the council truly meet the ideology of Public Trust. The previous chief left because he failed to effect change in the rampant corruption and lack of ethical and moral responsibilities portrayed by most of the Administration (Village Hall employees). Government owes its citizens and guests a safe environment to live. This has not been the case for the past several years. How about these topics for Public Inquiry:
How much of our tax dollars have been spent on getting the current director trained to meet job requirements? Travel, airfare, meals, lodging, mileage, salary, etc- Her only qualification was that of EMT-Basic. She was told to quit or be kicked out of BLET school due to poor grades and attitude, and so the Village paid her to attend another class in another county. We pay for her to go to Texas to finish her online paramedic class.
The state put the Village Fire Dept/Public Safety on probation this year for failing the most basic fire inspection, a 9S inspection. This level of routine inspection is passed by the most basic of volunteer fire departments across the state. The previous chief improved our training standards and equipment so we could be reinspected in 2014/2015 to achieve a higher rating of a 4 or 5 (the lower the number the better the rating). We have been a 6 rating since the 1990s. Bald Head Island Limited Corporation and other businesses would have seen a reduction in the fire insurance ratings, had others kept up quality training, vehicle inspections and records. But no, we just stopped training and let everything fall apart due to no leadership.
“Joe” is on the right track. Someone needs to investigate this place. We have not had an honest and knowledgeable Human Resources department since 2009, and she was fired for standing up for what was right against the powers that be.
The previous chief even went to an investigator with the DAs office on at least two occasions because he had concerns about certain elected officials, the manager and HR interfering with police work and pressuring for selective enforcement. But we all know what happens when you speak up for the truth and honesty on BHI…you will always lose! So sad.
Why did an employee that is clueless about fire, ems and police work just get a promotion? Maybe due to their uncanny ability to be a minion for the corrupt?
I can’t wait for the details of this recent “scandal” to unfold. It is very doubtful the Village’s claims are as harsh and sickening asa they proclaim.

2015 years 8 months ago

I’ve been a FF for 24 years now and have studied the ratings schedule a good bit. I recently read BHI current results for their recent rating. I was surprised. There is no reason for BHI not having a 4 or even maybe a 3 with the new ratings schedule. The Director or Chief, whatever they’re called, left a ton of creditable points on the table. You are correct, both business and residential property owners stood to benefit from a better score. I will also say that the Public Safety Officer model DOES NOT WORK and will always reduce the score a fire department. You just can’t do the jobs of 2 professions and maintain quality results, period. I know. I would love to have the opportunity to work and lead a department somewhere like this that has the potential to do better. It benefits everyone involved. But until they fix what appears to be a severe managerial issue within the government, the property owners will continue to receive the mediocre service from the Public Safety Department. I’ll keep my eyes open though if something gets fixed because I’d love to work there…