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Commissioner needs more than a censure, should be removed from board

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If Brunswick County commissioner and department of social services board chair Charles Warren’s intentions are good, his actions are completely off the mark.

He is single-handedly making a mockery out of the department of social services board and Brunswick County government.

While Warren claims he is a champion of causes for the community, he is actually a roadblock to open and transparent government and healing and unity for the department of social services officials and employees.

Worst of all, he can’t see he is doing anything wrong.

Monday night, Brunswick County commissioners agreed to begin the process to formally censure Warren for refusing to step down from the DSS board. Being on the board, other commissioners—and this editorial board—agree is a violation of the board’s recently passed code of ethics.

While Warren voted against adopting the code of ethics—which we remind him was mandated the county do per the state’s General Assembly—he had no problem stepping down from his position on the county’s planning board, indicating it was, in fact, a violation of the code to stay on.

So why is he continuing to hang onto the DSS position? We’ve already editorialized we think Warren should step down immediately. However, it’s clear it’s not something he is going to do. 

Now, we think the county has no choice but to move forward with the censure, which, unfortunately, is nothing more than a mere smack on the hand.

How can the public feel confident commissioners are successfully working together for this community when the board has been forced to turn against one of its own?

If there are other viable options for the board of commissioners to officially remove Warren from the DSS board, we support every effort to do so. The public’s trust in the county and DSS board must be restored as quickly as possible. This is not something that can be done with Warren continuing to behave the way he is.

Just last week The Brunswick Beacon took Warren to task because he had removed official meeting recordings from the DSS office. 

He claims to be the official custodian of DSS meeting records—although state statute and the department of social service’s state level guidebook indicate the official custodian of those records is the department’s director. As of now, that’s interim director Neil Walters, not board chair Warren.

Why does Warren think the law doesn’t apply to him or that he can interpret and twist it to meet his personal wishes? He is certainly not living up to the expectations of his constituents. 

The public should be outraged at such antics, and they should make their opinions known. 

Do you really think county government and the department of social services can operate effectively—and spend your tax dollars wisely—with these antics going on?

If you haven’t attended a Brunswick County commissioners meeting yet, you should. You should also call and write your commissioners. You can call commissioners at 253-2017. They can be reached via e-mail at commissioners@brunsco.net or by mail at P.O. Box 249, Bolivia, NC 28422.