SBI Clears Warren County Manager Of Wrongdoing
Posted March 16, 2005
WARREN COUNTY, N.C. — The Warren County manager caught in a controversy over inmate labor is in the clear, but that may not mean she will get her job back.
Loria Williams was suspended from her job as county manager because of charges she used inmates at a county detention center to do her yardwork. The State Bureau of Investigation has cleared her of any wrongdoing.
District Attorney Sam Currin notified the county commissioners by letter that the case is closed.
"I have concluded that no one has committed a criminal act either a misdemeanor act or a felony," he said.
Currin's letter said the SBI found that Robert Dunston, Williams' father, used inmates to work on the private lawns, including his own and his daughter's. Officials found that the inmates volunteered and Dunston fed and paid them.
"There was only one way for the investigation to come out and that's as it did and I am pleased," Williams said.
Still though, Williams may face an uphill battle getting back her job. Commissioner Luke Lucas is not happy with her job performance.
"I have some serious concerns about her ability and some of the actions that have occurred prior to all this happening," Warren County Commissioner Luke Lucas said.
When the county commissioners suspended Williams, they brought in an interim county manager to prepare the annual budget. Just two weeks into the job, the interim county manager is raising questions about how the county was spending the taxpayers' money.
"I'm not surprised. There was an inkling on some of our parts that something was terribly wrong," Lucas said.
"I'm eager to go back to work and move forward in a positive manner," Williams said.
Warren County commissioners have a special meeting next Monday to discuss the county manager's job status.