Buddy Finch, who said he was fired in retaliation for his effort to root out government waste and abuse, wants a judge to put him back in charge of the NCDOT Ferry Division - and to shield him from political meddling.
In a wrongful termination lawsuit filed this week in Wake Superior Court, Finch asks to be reinstated with back pay. A retired 30-year Coast Guard veteran, he was fired in June after 55 days as state ferry director.
Finch’s attorney, John C. Hunter of Asheville, said the state’s whistleblower law gives judges broad powers to reinstate and protect government workers who suffer illegal retaliation for their efforts to clean up abuses.
“We're asking that they not interfere with his ability to deal with the various problems he found and he reported,” Hunter said. “We're asking the court to keep a continuing role there, if necessary.”
In his lawsuit, Finch says he was thwarted repeatedly in efforts to limit the duties of some ferry workers, and to assign new responsibilities to others.
He says Stan White, a politically connected Nags Head developer who serves on the state Board of Transportation, exercised undue influence on behalf of ferry officials Jed Dixon and Charlie Fearing.
And he says White received inside information from two DOT employees who worked for Finch in Morehead City and for Westmoreland in Raleigh.