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VIDEOS INCLUDED: Commissioners set hearing to remove Warren from DSS board

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Warren taunts chairman, removed from meeting

By Caroline Curran, Reporter

BOLIVIA—During a tirade at Monday’s county commissioners’ meeting, embattled county commissioner Charles Warren asked people to treat others with respect—to treat others as they’d like to be treated.

Warren made this plea for respect and civility almost immediately after yelling at fellow commissioners, DSS board member Pat Sykes and local activist Ginny Quaglia, calling them all racists.

“Now, we have 107,000 people in Brunswick County, and we get three emails, and we’re here taking some action on three emails. To me, I feel that this whole thing, from Sykes to [Quaglia], to even the members of this board, is nothing but a bunch of racists. I’m calling you all out, because this whole thing have been going on for six months,” Warren said.

Warren’s tirade came after county commissioners chairman Bill Sue announced commissioners planned to have a hearing Jan. 17 to determine if there is just cause to remove Warren from the DSS board.

Commissioners voted four votes to zero to have the hearing because Warren had already left the meeting when the vote occurred.

Warren questioned Sue about the hearing, to which Sue said it was because of his behavior as DSS chair, including removing Sykes and a Brunswick Beacon reporter from last week’s DSS meeting.

“No. 1, you had suspended a member of the DSS board who was appointed by this commission. You do not have that authority. We appointed her, and we’re the only ones that can take her off,” Sue said.

Warren argued it was Sykes’ “behavior” that warranted the suspension.

“Sykes has been constantly disrespecting this chair. Ever since she been on the board, I ask her to raise her right hand, put her right hand on the Bible, no, put her left hand on the Bible and raise her hand, she put her right hand on the Bible and raise her left hand. Alright, she has been defiant, alright, constantly interrupting. Constantly trying to tell other people about how to do. I have gave her the opportunity for six months to change her behavior. We even sent her up to Hickory, North Carolina, to a board training.

"When she came back last month, she was worse than she were before she even went to the training. So now you’re telling me that it’s me.

“Secondly, she came in that meeting with her same crew, same Tea Partiers, they all came in the meeting together. All they do is come in and create chaos. So, they walk into this meeting, and I’m always being insulted in front of DSS board, I’m being insulted in front of this board. So, it’s just regular routine,” Warren said.

“Mr. Warren, I don’t appreciate you calling me a racist. I voted to put you on the DSS board, as did the rest of this commissioners with faith in you that you would do your job,” county commissioner Phil Norris said.

Warren continued to interrupt Norris, and Sue told him he was out of order.

“Yeah, so what? Sykes is always out of order,” Warren said.

Warren continually challenged Sue to remove him from the meeting.

Eventually Sue obliged and ordered Warren removed from the meeting.

Public comments

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Quaglia cited the state’s DSS handbook, which states a DSS board member can be removed for “good cause.”

“Good cause for removing a social services board member generally means a significant failure to perform the member’s duties or other grounds that render the member’s continuance in office contrary to the public interest,” the handbook states.

One example, which Quaglia read to commissioners, is “Any other act or omission that brings one’s public office into disrepute or that significantly and detrimentally affects a member’s ability to carry out his or her official duties or that significantly and detrimentally affects the ability of the social services board, the county director of social services or other government agencies to carry out official duties.”

C.G. Robinson, speaking during the public comment period of the meeting, said it was the first time in 12 years he “bothered to come to such a meeting.”

“I am here to say, Mr. Charles Warren is a disgrace to this commission, to his job as [chairman] of social services. I don’t care what you have to do legally to get him off…you should do it. He is guilty of malfeasance that has gone on with his conduct of this board,” Robinson said.

Bernest Hewett, who also serves on the DSS board, told commissioners they should conduct a thorough investigation into the goings on of the DSS board before making a decision.

“Now, all the uproar that goes on in the DSS board, I would ask you to pull the minutes and do an investigation. You are the governing board of this county. If you will investigate it fully, you will find Ms. Sykes was disruptive 99 percent of the time. We need to find the facts, gentlemen, you don’t need to make no mistakes just because people say things,” Hewett said.

Caroline Curran is a staff writer at The Brunswick Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or ccurran@brunswickbeacon.com.

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