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Former Pender Co. Public Works Director fired in VA for being AWOL during hurricane


EDENTON, NC (THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT) -- Chowan County officials are seeking the third manager in as many years after firing the most recent manager last week for leaving town in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Paul Parker was fired Sept. 6 for failing to meet expectations, county attorney John Morrison said. As county officials set up an emergency operation ahead of Hurricane Irene's arrival, Parker was supposed to lead the effort. Instead, he left town, Morrison said.

"They expected the county manager to be there," he said.

Parker acknowledged Monday that he left Aug. 25 for an appointment with his doctor in Wilmington to get a vital prescription refilled but did not notify commissioners. He also helped his wife prepare their Pender County home for the hurricane. He returned Aug. 26 but missed a 6 a.m. emergency meeting the next morning when debris blocked the road near his Edenton residence. He spent the night at the emergency center Aug. 27 and 28 as the hurricane passed.

Parker does not dispute his firing but said he regrets that he didn't get more notice.

"I wish it would have been a little less dramatic," he said.

Parker had served as public works director in Pender County before coming to Chowan County in July 2010 as an interim manager to replace Peter Rascoe. Parker was hired permanently in November 2010.


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