RALEIGH — The State Personnel Commission has upheld an administrative law judge’s decision that the N.C. Highway Patrol fired Robeson County Commissioner Hubert Sealey for good cause in May 2011.
In its ruling issued Friday, the commission said that the Highway Patrol had proved it had just cause to dismiss Sealey for personal misconduct. It also said that Sealey had not proven his case that he had been dismissed because of his race, which is black.
Sealey had been employed by the patrol since January 2003, and was assigned to the Motor Carrier Enforcement Division based in Fayetteville.
Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred G. Morris in December heard Sealey’s charges that the Highway Patrol discriminated against him because of his race when he was disciplined and subsequently fired. The judge also considered whether the Highway Patrol had just cause in terminating Sealey’s employment.
Sealey was accused of disobeying a direct order; neglecting his duties; violating explicit patrol policies dealing with outside employment; and lying during a patrol Internal Affairs investigation. He was fired from his position for conducting both private and county government business while on duty with the Highway Patrol, according to documents released by the patrol in June 2011.
According to documents released by the Highway Patrol, an investigation of Sealey’s activities while on the job showed that he violated at least four Highway Patrol directives and was guilty of lying; insubordination and neglect of duty, and violated rules about secondary employment and the limitation of that employment.
It was determined during the investigation that Sealey conducted county business over his county and personal cell phone while on duty, and conducted work while on duty for the private mental health company, Independent Community Based Services, which is owned by his wife.
According to the commission’s ruling, Sealey has 30 days to appeal to Robeson County Superior Court.
Shortly after Sealey’s dismissal from the patrol, the Robeson County branch of the NAACP complained that his firing was race related. The NAACP charged that several years ago another trooper, who was white, was found guilty of the same charges but was given a lesser penalty and kept his job.
A resident of Fairmont, Sealey is currently serving his third four-year term on the county Board of Commissioners as the District 2 representative. He did not return a reporter’s phone calls on Tuesday.
Staff writer Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-272-6117 or email@example.com.