ELIZABETHTOWN — Robeson County Commissioner Hubert Sealey says that until he is “officially notified” that he is no longer an acting member of the Four-County board, he will consider himself a member of that board.
Sealey was present Tuesday night when the Four-County board met in Elizabethtown, but left the room when an executive session was held with former Executive Director Richard Greene, who is appealing the non-profit board’s March decision to fire him.
Robeson County’s new assistant manager, Jason King, was appointed last month to fill Sealey’s seat on the Four-County board, but reportedly was not present at Tuesday’s meeting. Robeson County commissioners voted to remove Sealey after receiving a letter from Jimmy Cummings, Four-County’s board chairman, stating that Sealey had acted inappropriately.
The decision by the county commissioners came following a closed session that Sealey attended, but Sealey was not present for the vote, having stepped out into a hall.
Sealey said that he did not attend Four-County’s meeting to plead his case for reinstatement.
“That was not my purpose for being there,” he said. “I was there to look after the best interest of my constituents. I just wanted to observe the proceedings.
“I have not officially been notified by anyone that I am not a board member,” Sealey said. “Until I receive that notification, I consider I am still a member of the board.”
Greene was fired after a state Department of Health and Human Services audit alleged that he and several other of the non-profit’s employees had misused federal and state funds.
Greene had been with the agency since 1968, having for the past 25 years served as its executive director. According to The Fayetteville Observer, the more than 40-member Four-County board adjourned Tuesday without taking any action on Greene’s appeal.
The audit found 15 of 18 allegations substantiated. Those findings have been referred to the Office of the State Auditor, which is now conducting its own investigation.
Several of the allegations in the audit were directed at Greene. They included: vendors that do business with the agency financially sponsoring him in professional fishing tournaments; concealment of a nine-year marriage to the agency’s financial manager, a violation of nepotism rules; and personal use of state-owned property, including an SUV to tow his boat to fishing tournaments, two cellphones and home Internet service.
Greene has reportedly denied any wrongdoing other than accepting fishing tournament sponsorships.
Four-County, headquartered in Laurinburg, operates 16 Head Start facilities and offers programs for poor residents in Robeson, Bladen, Columbus, Hoke, Scotland, Pender and Brunswick counties.