That headline just does not compute for me. My father grew up in Kinston, which to my amazement actually has its own Wikipedia entry, and it would be hard to find a quieter place. We visited my grandmother there until she moved to Dothan when she was 95. (She was 103 when she died, so if I got her genes I might be here for a while.)
Anyway, back to the, gulp, scandal. It seems the DHR director for Coffee County, Brandon Hardin, wanted to get rid of the local DHR Board chair, Doug Donaldson, who wanted him fired, so Hardin threatened to fire a social worker with whom Donaldson was supposedly romantically involved.
Got all that? It’s what is alleged in a lawsuit filed by Cheryl Hancock, the social worker whose job was on the line, and it looks like there are taped conversations to back up her allegations. She has sued Hardin, former state DHR Commissioner Page Walley, and DHR General Counsel Sharon Ficquette. Walley resigned effective September 1 to take a position as managing director with the Casey Family Programs.
The Eagle has obtained two audio conversations, one being a phone conversation between Donaldson and a man who identifies himself as State Deputy Finance Director Andy Hornsby. During the conversation, (Hornsby) says he is calling as a friend to Donaldson and as a favor to then-State DHR director Page Walley. Later in the conversation, Hornsby, who is a former DHR state commissioner, tells Donaldson that Hancock will not be fired if he resigns from the board.
I’m sure the defendants will use the Palin ExcuseTM that the Powers That Be had no idea what their minions were up to, at least until they’re forced to issue a Palin RetractionTM.
Partial transcript of the conversation after the jump: