State Representative Jamie Boles has secured a temporary restraining order preventing the Moore County Board of Education from hiring a replacement for Superintendent Dr. Robert Grimesey, who was fired in a five to three vote in a special meeting on Thursday, June 4.
In a press release announcing the restraining order, Boles called for the resignation of the five School Board members who voted to terminate Grimesey's contract: Kathy Farren, Ben Cameron, Sue Black, Laura Lang, and Becky Carlson by Noon on Monday, June 8, the date of the next Board of Eduction meeting.
"I didn't want them to go in there and hire someone and handicap the decisions of a future Board," Boles told The Times. "And then that Board have to fire another superintendent and cost us more money."
"This is not necessarily about whether Grimesey comes back," Boles said. "This is about moving forward in a positive direction."
Boles said he is actively working on several options in the General Assembly that would provide Moore County citizens with the opportunity of recalling School Board members through a recall election in November.
"If they won't resign, then the citizens need an option to recall them," Boles said.
Speaking of the five Board members who voted to fire Grimesey, Boles said, "You can't just sit there and look at [Sandhills Community College President] Dr. John Dempsey, the County Commissioners, the mayors of Southern Pines and Aberdeen, the NAACP, Republicans, Democrats, every one saying 'No!' and say 'We're going to do this and we aren't going to tell you why.'"
The temporary restraining order, signed by Superior Court Judge James W. Webb, finds that "there is a likelihood that the Plaintiff [Boles] will succeed on the merits of his claims against the defendants and will succeed in passing a local bill to allow for the recall of the current Moore County Board of Education."
If the Board were to hire a permanent replacement for Grimesey, the order says, "the Plaintiff and the citizens and residents of Moore County will suffer immediate and irreparable harm including but not limited to: (1) the expending of unnecessary taxpayer money for the employment of a permanent Superintendent while paying out Dr. Grimesey's contract; (2) the exodus of teachers from the Moore County School system; and (3) the loss of morale and confidence in the Moore County Board of Education by teachers, students, and parents."
A hearing is scheduled for Monday, June 15 at 2:00 pm in the Moore County Courthouse, during which Webb will hear arguments for a Preliminary Injunction that would extend the restrictions on the School Board.
The full text of Boles' press release reads as follows:
"As your Representative, I have heard your concerns through emails, phone calls and social media. In the seven years of my political career, I have never seen the continuity and unity of Democrats, Republicans, NCAAP, PTA, students, teachers, conservatives and liberals alike as I have seen with the unified condemnation of the process in which our Superintendent Dr. Grimesey was fired.
"Due to this overwhelming response, I felt obligated, as Moore County’s elected Representative, and after consultation with Attorney Thomas M. Van Camp, to take legal action on behalf of the citizens in our community to obtain a Temporary Restraining Order entered this 5th day of June, 2015 by the Honorable James M. Webb, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge, to restrict and limit the powers of the present Board until proper legislation is passed to establish a fair process in which elected officials can be held accountable.
"The integrity of our Board has been severely compromised by their arbitrary actions, which have been condemned by our citizens in the most vocal way. This is not what the citizens of Moore County envisioned when electing their Board members. I intend to reestablish confidence in the Moore County Board of Education so we can move forward with future competent decisions that affect our students, teachers, parents, community leaders and our economy.
"I have been engaged with the present Chairman of the Board, Bruce Cunningham, and in good faith, encourage the resignation of Kathy Farren, Laura Lang, Ben Cameron, Becky S. Carlson, and Sue Black no later than Monday June 8, 2015 at 12:00 noon so we can alleviate the disharmony of the Board and we can move forward in a positive direction for the entire Moore County School system and our community."