ANGIER – Though offering few details, the Angier town board voted Tuesday night to begin the process of possibly removing the chair of its alcoholic beverage control board.
Unanimously approving a motion by Commissioner Mike Hill, the board voted to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to remove ABC Board Chair Jerry Hockaday.
Hill said he has serious concerns about financial and personnel decisions made by Hockaday.
“We need to make a determination about whether Jerry Hockaday should be removed,” Hill said.
Many of the incidents leading to Tuesday’s actions reportedly involve former ABC Board Finance officer Vicky Pinkerton, who spoke to the board in the public comment section of the meeting.
Pinkerton said she was terminated from her position despite positive evaluations and no discipline referrals. She said she was told by Hockaday she was being terminated for insubordination, but Hockaday would not provide further details.
During her time at the ABC board, Pinkerton said she asked questions several times including about the use of cameras in the store. She said her questions were not answered.
First saying he was too mad to even talk about the issue, Hill heeded the advice of the town’s attorney and did not offer more details of his accusations pending the evidentiary hearing. Hill said the hearing will be to find out if there is enough facts to warrant removing Hockaday from the board.
Hill first made, and then removed, a motion to have town financial staff oversee the ABC board finances. The board’s attorney said state statute requires ABC boards to manage their own money.
Board members said the situation involving the ABC board will be addressed shortly.
“We stand for law and order and we will do the thing with the ABC board the right way,” Mayor Bob Smith said.
“If there is a problem, we need to know about it and we need to deal with it,” Commissioner Alan Coats added.
The board did not set a date for the evidentiary hearing.
The vote came without long-standing member Craig Honeycutt, who, through Mayor Smith, tendered his resignation effective Dec. 1.
Smith said Honeycutt has taken a security job at Campbell University that will make it difficult for him to continue as a commissioner. The date of his resignation will give Honeycutt almost exactly 17 years of service on the board. He was first elected in 2003. He won the seat again in an unopposed race last year. Throughout his term on the board, Honeycutt won every election while being unopposed.
The board excused Honeycutt’s absence Monday night, meaning sitting Commissioners Loru Hawley, Hill and Alan Coats decided all matters facing the board.
Smith said Honeycutt will be replaced though an application process. Anyone who lives in District 4 in the town is eligible to serve on the board. Candidates will be interviewed and the board will make a final decision on Honeycutt’s replacement.
Town Manager Gerry Vincent told board members an employee of the town’s public works department tested positive for COVID-19 and that all members of the department were scheduled to be tested Wednesday.
Vincent would not confirm the identity of the employee. Public Works Director Jimmy Cook was not at Tuesday’s meeting.
-Dunn Daily Record