From correspondent Virginia Bridges
A shakeup in the Department of Social Services has split the Durham County Board of Commissioners, with the chairman accusing a colleague of dishonesty and another calling the chairman a liar.
Chairman Michael Page says Commissioner Ellen Reckhow was dishonest about her knowledge about the new DSS interim director.
Page says he also heard Commissioner Joe Bowser sought to oust former DSS director Gerri Robinson because she wouldn't hire one of his friends. He would not name who told him and said he could not prove it. “But I have to go by that when people bring me information,” he says.
Bowser calls Page a “liar.”
“It takes an ignorant person to make comments that are not true,” Bowser says. Although he introduced a potential job candidate to Robinson, he says it was a “recommendation only.”
Page’s concerns start with a June 27 county commissioners meeting where Bowser, Reckhow and Becky Heron voted to put Gail Perry on the DSS board.
Page and Brenda Howerton, the fifth commissioner, voted for Gloria Green, whose first term on the board had just expired. Page had served on the board with Green, a former DSS employee, and said the county had no reason to end her tenure.
Heron and Reckhow said Bowser, the commissioners’ liaison to the DSS board, contacted them before the vote, saying Robinson’s leadership had been divisive. She says she consulted County Manager Mike Ruffin, who indicated a change needed to occur, “which carried a lot of weight with me.”
Ruffin woould not comment.
Look for more on this developing story in tomorrow's N&O and in Wednesday's Durham News. If you'd like to speak with the reporter working on it please call Virginia Bridges at 919-564-9330 or email email@example.com