Hamlet Council could hire private investigator

City takes steps to quell remaining Haywood controversy
* Councilman: ‘If I had the authority, I’d reinstate him today’ as chief

By Kevin Spradlin

HAMLET — Nearly one month after an attorney for former Hamlet Police Chief John Haywood requested the city help bring the controversy of Haywood’s 2012 firing by City Manager Marchell Adams-David to an end, council members took a small step to do just that.

John Haywood

John Haywood

After an executive session lasting one hour and 40 minutes — ending at 10:28 p.m. — Councilman Johnathan Buie took about 45 seconds to make a motion to direct city attorney T.C. Morphis Jr. to look into the outstanding issue of 23 crushed cars.

Buie’s motion, approved by his four fellow council members within a minute and with no discussion, also directed Morphis to seek a status update with the State Bureau of Investigation regarding any ongoing investigation into anything related to Haywood’s tenure as chief.

“We want to try to get that to a close,” Buie said.

Coincidentally, the position of police chief is open since former Chief Amery Griffin retired in May. Then-acting City Manager Tammy Kirkley appointed Capt. Rodney Tucker as interim chief until Griffin’s permanent replacement can be found. Both Tucker and Haywood are among the applicants vying for Griffin’s old job.

In addition to those two directives, Buie motioned that Morphis approach City Council at its Aug. 12 public meeting with a list of potential independent investigators, one of whom could be hired to look into administrative issues related to Haywood’s tenure as chief.

“It’s a whole different thing from doing a criminal” probe, said Mayor Bill Bayless.

It was not immediately clear the entire scope of any investigation an independent investigator would pursue under the council’s direction.

Despite being terminated by Adams-David in 2012 after being charged with gross negligence in the carrying out of his administrative duties — specifically, that he failed to supervise departmental operations which resulted in the improper spending of city funds — Haywood continues to enjoy the support of a loyal and vocal legion of followers.

One council member said that “if he had the authority, I’d reinstate him today” as chief of police.

Haywood currently is employed with the Rockingham Police Department.

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