Public Deposition-Sworn and Sealed
Editor’s Note: For those of us that pay attention to what goes on in governmental agencies; Depart6ments of Social Services in North Carolina and like agencies across the USA are full of corruption, waste, and inefficiencies. It is almost inevitable due to the large amount of “confidentiality” mixed in with the large amounts of taxpayers’ money flowing through DSS with little to no accountability; the temptations for staff to “skim off” a bit of the “free stuff” is overwhelming. Throw in the “rush” of power a social worker gets when dealing with those undereducated, needy, unconnected and powerless amongst us, DSS staff comes to believe they can do what they want to whom they want and be immune from discipline, discipline and most of all-prosecution. And, then add Human Nature and the fact that most citizens are glad to throw money at DSS so they won’t have to deal with the “poor and suffering” themselves, nobody much is watching over the DSS. Corruption just becomes a part of the game they play.
And, if you are on the inside of DSS and try to be honest and do what is right, you get harassed and run off from your job. Those on the outside who speak up about DSS waste and wrongdoing get harassed too. All get retaliated against by the “DSS system” that has so much power and protection from those who benefit from DSS funding. Even drug-dealers and their financial enablers whose biggest profits come from laundering Foodstamps from the illegal drug trade through the financial markets who turn the Foodstamps into cash. Cold hard cash basically untraceable back to the drug trade.
First-a little History:
My biggest wake-up call (at that particular time) on just how low-down and dirty the Cleveland County Department of Social Services and it’s corruption at it’s top level of oversight-The DSS Board (and NOW the County Commissioners) was happened back in the mid 1990’s when I was actually appointed to the DSS Board. At my very first DSS Board Meeting, after being sworn in, I made a motion to add a Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag and also add a Prayer to our meeting agenda at the beginning of our DSS Board Meetings.
I had been warned that the rest of the DSS Board had made their brags-around-town that anything I came up with; they would vote me down. I was flabbergasted when the DSS Board Chairman Joyce Cashion, Vice Chairman Dean Westmoreland, Member Rhonda Skorman and Member Stuart LeGrand all voted against the American Flag and Prayer. Cashion (a re-election candidate for County Commissioner) and Westmoreland (a candidate for the NC Senate) were themselves flabbergasted at the upcoming election results when both of them lost their election bids. In large part, I believe, because I wrote Letters to the Editor at the Shelby Daily Star (that were printed in those days) informing the voters about Cashion and Westmoreland’s vote against the Flag and Prayer.
Things went down from there.
Later, I received a personal telephone call from DSS Board Chairman Joyce Cashion that a 2 ½ year old black baby girl had died of natural causes while under family care of the Cleveland County DSS. Natural Causes, I wondered. Cashion would never have called me if that child had actually died of natural causes. I smelt a rat. And I was 100% right.
This was the point where my actual involvement with Rev. Dante Murphy’s Federal Lawsuit against the Cleveland County DSS, (lawsuit 1 and lawsuit 2) actually began. The corruption and cover-up was and still is mindboggling. This is when my formation of my Newsprint publication Citizens For Good Government began in 1994. Later to become an internet blog.
Without further description of the steps involved with me finding out what really happened in the death, murder, of that 2 ½ year old black baby, I will provide you with my first article I wrote for my first edition of my Citizens For Good Government (CGG) publication as Attachment 1 This Attachment 1 will also be included in my Deposition and Motion to Federal Court in regards to Rev. Dante Murphy’s First and Second Federal lawsuit against the CCDSS and the CC Commissioners. Twenty-Five years later and incredibly the same people at DSS that were involved in corruption and cover-up of the Murder of the 2 ½ year old black baby in the mid 1990’s and 25 years later with Rev. Murphy’s lawsuits.
SEE ATTACHMENT 1. Published February 28, 2019 paraphrasing CGG Original Article
(Note that the original CGG Article is being reconstituted from the original 1994 Print Issue and will be available soon.)
Fast forward to June 21, 2016 at a County Commissioners meeting when Rev. Dante A. Murphy and Rev. Melvin Clark spoke during Citizen’s Recognition. I was present and siting in the front row as usual. I heard every word and took notes as I always do.
Rev. Murphy spoke first informing the Commissioners about a long list of illegal false and retaliatory attacks launched against him. The Minutes of that meeting state: “Dante Murphy: 1000 Fredericks Street, Shelby: Mr. Murphy stated that he has lived in Cleveland County for more than 10 years and has been able to benefit from his time here academically, socially and spiritually. Mr. Murphy announced that he is formally submitting his resignation from the Department of Social Services effective July 5th, 2016. He stated that the Board was aware of his work situation and aware of the lawsuit that had been filed in federal court. He asked that Commissioners do their own independent investigation into his case. He hopes that consideration will be given to House Bill 438 and the implications it would have in giving power back to elected boards and not the appointed boards.”
The Commissioners did NOT conduct an independent investigation, or any investigation at all. Or assign anyone else to investigate the matter. Otherwise they would have found that CCDSS employees deposed and under oath in Rev. Murphy’s first Federal Lawsuit admitted to unethical and illegal acts done at the direction of Director Karen Prichard, Jane Shooter and others. Nobody was disciplined or terminated. CCDSS agreed to pay Rev. Murphy $55,000 in compensation in that first lawsuit. The lack of Leadership on the Cleveland County Commissioner’s Board, the DSS Board and the related discrimination and retaliation against Rev. Murphy in this first lawsuit, would lead directly to the second of Rev. Murphy’s lawsuits against Cleveland County and the CCDSS.