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ONLY ON 3: DA wants to see Pender Health Dept. investigation

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: DA wants to see Pender Health Dept. investigation

BURGAW, NC (WWAY) -- It's a story we reported first on three last night at 11: Employees of the Pender County Health Department made some startling allegations of a hostile and life threatening work environment. Now the district attorney wants to see the investigation.

Employees say Health Department administrators ignored notices that some employees were using drugs, violating confidentiality practices and not getting proper training. The employees say administrators threatened to fire them if they talked to any of the commissioners or the media.

After hearing the allegations, Pender County Commissioners asked for an investigation. District Attorney Ben David says once it's finished, he wants to see if there were any crimes committed.

"If there are any allegations that need further criminal investigation, I'll ask investigators to get involved on the criminal side," David said. "If we're satisfied that there's not, then we'll say that as well."

County Manager Rick Benton is working on a list of state and independent agencies that could conduct the investigation.

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.


Where was Ben

Ben, by the way, The New Hanover ABC Scandal needed you also. You where a no show on a forensic audit to prove apparent corruption in using taxpayer money for personal gain. Nice cherry picking issues so you don't hurt the corrupt New Hanover political machine. You are late for this party by a few years


if the posted interviews are correct, you had employees using drugs while at work. You have the potential that some employees represented skills when applying for a job; an example would be the reference to employees not knowing where on the anatomy to do an injection.

Seems to me you have enough to start right now.

Step 1. Have the reporter identify those he interviewed; the ones who would not appear on camera but had plenty to say as long as they were not identifiable.

Step 2. Put those employees who allege drug use by co-workers under oath and get them to name names & dates. Same holds true for those who alledgedly could not use needles and could not make injections properly. Get names & dates.

Step 3. Review the employment history of those who are alledged to not know how to perform injections properly. If they represented they had skills or experience which they did not, that's a crime.

Step 4. By the County, institute a mandatory, random drug screen for all health department employees. Fail the test, lose your job. In fact, if the County won't do it, I hope the Health Department will.


From Anonymous.

It seems that the best way to get the recognition of any complaints these days on local TV and newspapers is to disguise myself as “Anonymous” So in fact, that is who I have chosen to be in this letter to you.

I’m not surprised to hear about another eruption created by the Pender County Commissioners. I guess Mr. Norwood Blanchard and Mr. George Brown decided to kiss and make up so now we are on to another episode on the Pender County Comic TV channel series. I don’t want to miss this one. Maybe I should go ahead and set my Tivo just in case.

I think I’m getting the hint from what I’ve heard and read that the Pender County Commissioners are now going after the Health Dept and Dr. Jack Griffith who heads it up. I question why? I always thought that Dr. Jack Griffith was a very bright man. Dr. Griffith seems to have an incredible background and has always run a tight ship which is more than I can say for most management in local governments.

This all seems to be about someone writing anonymous complaint letters to a Commissioner? Who is this person(s)? Is it a he or a she? Is this not something that any county government would attempt to handle within the system first? Whose idea was it to phone the local media in and put on this show? What is the final motive of the Commissioners? Are they looking to get rid of Dr. Griffith? I certainly hope not. I would think that the Dr. is the best thing we have here in Pender County.

No, l would not recommend a confidential independent review coming in to investigate the Pender County Health Dept as George Brown suggested. I do believe it might be in Mr. Brown’s best interest if this were kept confidential as he stated. I would suggest a State Agency should investigate this latest calamity and it should all be out in the open and transparent to the public. I would speculate any investigation would find fault with the Commissioners handling of this situation. I would also suspect an investigation would find that these latest charges of the Pender County Health Dept is fabrication blown up by the insubordination of a few county employees who are looking for personal gain and are being supported by either one or two of the Commissioners. I find this good cause for termination of “Anonymous”. I suggest that everyone go ahead and “lawyer up”. It's going to be a wild ride.

I would also hope Mr. Brown still has those anonymous letters in his possession and would be willing to make them public record. I’m sure one would not have to look far to find out who “Anonymous” is especially when she/he will soon be sitting in Dr. Jack Griffith’s chair if Mr. Brown can somehow find a way to get kick good old Doc out.

Someone please inform the Commissioners that the economy has been in a rut and that many people in government positions across this country are being laid off all because of necessary budget cuts. I’m sure any cuts that are being requested in Pender County are being initiated by someone other than the head of the Health Dept as anonymous and Mr. Brown has suggested. I would think Pender does have a County Manager and a Health Board as most counties do? Maybe Mr. Brown is confused about how this county government works. I’m sure Commissioner Jimmy Tate can fill in Mr. Brown on the inner workings of the Health Department since Mr. Tate sits on the Board of Health.

Someone also inform the Commissioners that the State of North Carolina mandates programs at the County Health Departments to take care of the “indigent and the illegal’s’ whether they are US Citizens are not. It is a law which is far above the Commissioners’ reach and those budget cuts won’t be changing any time soon. I’m sure Mr. Brown would find reason to do away with the Health Dept all together if he could. I never used the county Health facilities, but I’m happy to know it’s there for the folks who need it.

I would also suggest that in the future the local media covering Pender County would do us Pender residents a big favor. Please reach back somewhere and try to find some real journalistic skills in order to report more of a complete story on TV and in the Newspapers. Please spend a little more time, talk to a few more people and ask a few more questions. Anonymous letters are gutless and dangerous. Shame on you for even mentioning what the letter you received said. And shame on you for the last line in the Topsail Voice, “Dr. Griffith could not be reached for comment on this story”. That is also a gutless statement. Did a reporter try? I would rather read “he had no comment”. It would show us readers that the Topsail Voice at least tried to get in touch with the man.

Not all of us living in Pender County are at a mental disadvantage and most of us don’t enjoy the reading about the comics in our local government. It’s not that difficult to be a bit more professional in your reporting. It would also be a good service to this area.

Now, if one could only figure out what Commissioner Jimmy Tate wants out of all this hoopla he presented to the local circus. Calm down Jimmy. I’m sure you will find something important to talk about soon.

The real story...

should be the motivation of this 'anonymous' person that was not really disguised in the news report. Why don't they find out why she wants Dr. Griffith removed? Could it be she has some motivation, such as angling for the job, and might she be getting her degree in a few weeks (online) so she'll have the proper 'qualifications' (barely) to take the director's job if it just happened to come open? And does she happen to know well the one Commissioner who is being vocal about this and can't seem to comment enough about it, Commissioner Brown? Or how about her neighbor, who might happen to be on the board of health?
Find those answers and this whole 'employee complaint' issue starts to look like a real scam. Try doing some actual reporting work and it will become apparent.
If there are problems, let's help fix them, but don't reward this 'anonymous' woman for trying to play dirty politics for her personal gain, and ruining the reputation of someone who has worked hard for the people of the county in the process. This woman trying to oust the current director using these tactics in order to steal his job is what they should be reporting on.

That being said

have you stepped forward and offered this information, with specific names, to the DA? Or the County Manager?

Dr Griffith is a fine individual and derserves to face his accussors.

So step up to the plate.