Subject of SBI investigation

Last updated: July 24. 2014 8:22AM - 2709 Views
By - swillets@civitasmedia.com

Danny Parker
Danny Parker
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FAIRMONT — Danny Parker, whose resignation as Fairmont’s director of Public Safety was never officially accepted, resubmitted his intention to quit the position on Wednesday.

Parker, who originally submitted his resignation on June 4, has been on paid leave since. Town Manager Linda Vause said Parker’s employment status was “misunderstood” and that the resignation was never formalized.

Instead, Parker was put on administrative leave. According to Vause, Parker was owed about six weeks paid vacation that he had accrued while working for the town. Salary for the director position is $49,396 a year, according to the town clerk.

“Danny has done a great service for the town of Fairmont and he along with his extensive knowledge of law enforcement will be missed. We wish Danny well in his future endeavors,” a statement from the town said.

Kimothy Monroe, who previously served as interim police chief for Laurinburg, will serve as Fairmont’s acting police chief until the town is “able to effectively fill the position,” the statement said.

The town’s Board of Commissioners at a meeting on July 15 voted unanimously to split the Public Safety Department into separate Police and Fire divisions, and reinstated former Fire Chief James Thompson. Parker’s second-in-command, David Windom, who was a major, left his position shortly before Parker’s leave began.

The State Bureau of Investigation began investigating Parker on May 8 for allegedly misusing funds and credits cards at the South Robeson Rescue Unit, where he served as commander before becoming Fairmont’s director of Public Safety in 2010.

Commissioner Terry Evans says that until a closed session meeting on June 9, the board was under the impression Parker’s resignation had been accepted. During the closed session, the board met “… to consider what steps should be taken” regarding Parker’s employment, according to a letter addressed to Parker.

The letter, dated June 10, states that the commissioners decided by unanimous vote that they, along with Vause and Mayor Charles Townsend, wished to see Parker return to his position “as soon as possible” and that his resignation was not being accepted.

The letter is signed by Vause, Townsend and five board members. Evans refused to sign, and says he did not participate in the vote.

“The reason why I did not want to sign the letter is because he had resigned of his free will … In fact, what I wanted them to do was suspend him without pay, but by him choosing to resign I had to accept that,” Evans said, noting Parker has not been charged with committing a crime.

According to Evans, the letter was sent to Parker, but Vause said Parker was not asked to return. The Robesonian was unable to reach Parker for comment.

Parker turned in his service weapon and vehicle and has not been working with the town since he first submitted his resignation.

Erich Hackney, an investigator with the District Attorney’s Office, began looking into the rescue squad’s finances on April 21 and turned the case over to the SBI. Hackney has declined to say how his office became aware of the alleged misuse of funds or estimate the amount misused, but did say if allegations against Parker prove true, the amount of money misused could be “substantial.”

Parker is not accused of misusing any of Fairmont’s money. He began working with the town as a dispatcher when he was 17 and served 20 years there. He started working with the South Robeson Rescue Unit in 1991.

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