Mecklenburg County Commissioners met behind closed doors for nearly 3 hours Tuesday night to discuss County Manager Harry Jones and his most recent faux pas. As expected Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners voted to allow County Manager Harry Jones to retain the greatly coveted Immunity Idol.
Possessing the immunity idol allows, Jones to continue his reign without oversight. For the third time in nearly a year, the board was called upon to address the actions and incompetence of manager Jones yet the board continues to agree not to see, hear or say anything negative about Harry Jones.
The board late last night issued a carefully crafted white wash of the commissioners discussions and lack of action.
The official statement is as follows:
The Board met for an extended period of time in closed session to discuss performance issues with the County Manager. Here is the text of the Board's statement:
The Board has reviewed the actions of County Manager Harry Jones regarding the terms and conditions of former Area Mental Health Grayce Crockett’s resignation, including the payment of a negotiated amount to Ms. Crockett totaling $99,329.18. This involved a thorough review of County policy and the authority provided by the Board of County Commissioners to the County Manager. The Board also received and reviewed information on other negotiated resignations of County employees in recent years.
Based on this review, the Board believes the following:
1. The County Manager made a reasoned and sound decision in the best interests of Mecklenburg County taxpayers and had the authority to do so without prior Board approval.
2. The County Manager should have informed the Board in advance or immediately thereafter about the terms and conditions of Ms. Crockett’s negotiated resignation, including the amount paid to her in excess of what she was entitled to receive in accrued vacation and sick benefits, and the reasons he decided the payment was in the best interests of the County and taxpayers.
3. The County is limited by privacy laws regarding the amount and type of information that can be released to the public.
4. Although the information publicly released involving Grayce Crockett’s negotiated resignation was technically correct and was released in a good faith attempt to comply with North Carolina law, it provided a misleading impression to the Board and the public.
5. The County Manager erred by not timely correcting this misimpression.
6. The County Manager made a mistake by not informing the Board in advance or immediately afterwards about the terms and conditions of Grayce Crockett’s resignation. The County Manager understands and acknowledges this mistake.
7. The County Manager seriously erred when he released information from Commissioner Pendergraph’s personnel file that included some information protected by North Carolina privacy laws, although he did so without malice.
8. The County Manager understands and acknowledges he made a mistake when he released the protected information from Commissioner Pendergraph’s personnel file. The County Manager has apologized to Commissioner Pendergraph and Commissioner Pendergraph has accepted his apology.
9. The additional amounts of accrued vacation paid to Commissioner Pendergraph at the time of his retirement were for benefits he earned during his service as Mecklenburg County Sheriff.
10. The County Manager must improve communication with the Board on personnel and matters of public interest.
11. The Board will work with the County Manager to establish clear expectations for how similar matters will be handled in the future.
The Board will put this statement in the County Manager’s personnel file and intends to take all of the above into consideration when conducting the County Manager’s annual performance evaluation later this calendar year.
Cedar's Take: Harry Jones has become synonymous with shady dealings, hubris intolerance, and a total disregard for the importance of the job he holds. The parallels to Charlotte's Aviation Director Jerry Orr are troubling as well. Unfortunately Charlotte's City Council is nearly as clueless as the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.