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NC Dems director resigns, denies harassment allegations

Posted April 15, 2012
Updated April 16, 2012

— The executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party resigned Sunday amid increasing frustrations and ire among party activists over high turnover at the party headquarters and harassment allegations there.

Jay Parmley, who became the top administrator last year after holding a similar post in South Carolina, submitted a resignation letter in which he vehemently denied harassing any party worker.

Party leaders raised concerns after e-mails began circulating in the media late last week that mentioned the allegations. The party has been guarded in directly addressing the substance of the allegations.

"Let me be clear: I have never harassed any employee at any time at the (state party) or in any other job," Parmley wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press. Parmley added that the more than 1,000 people who have worked with him over the years "know this kind of behavior would be unconscionable to me."

The dustup following the emails led party activists meeting at county party conventions Saturday to call for the resignations of Parmley and party Chairman David Parker.

In accepting Parmley's resignation, Parker echoed Parmley's view that the allegations were becoming a political distraction, particularly in an election year. Parker didn't resign.

Jay Parmley Dems party chief shakeup could spell election trouble

A Statesville attorney who said he's successfully prosecuted harassment and discrimination cases, Parker said it's his legal opinion "that there have not been grounds for termination for cause of Jay Parmley."

"In this political world of rushing to judgment and the presumption of guilt, however, my legal and personal opinion has been outweighed by this having become a political distraction and issue," Parker wrote.

Parmley's departure is the latest setback for a state party that has been coming to terms with Republicans controlling the state House and Senate for the first time in 140 years. Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue surprised many in January by announcing she wouldn't seek re-election, forcing other Democrats to scramble to mount primary campaigns. Six Democrats are running in the May 8 primary.

Republicans are cautiously optimistic that former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory, who narrowly lost to Perdue four years ago, will win the Executive Mansion for the GOP for the first time since the 1988 election.

The Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte in less than five months.

"I refuse to be a distraction," Parmley wrote, adding that his presence at the state party would "only distract from the important work of electing Democrats up and down the ticket in 2012 in North Carolina. It is unfortunate that a smear spread by entities hostile to Democrats perpetuated this false story."

Democratic officials had been speaking privately for weeks about why personnel changes occurred at the state party offices in downtown Raleigh.

A series of email messages disclosed publicly Friday raised the level of discomfort among party activists, who pleaded for more information from the party in the interest of full disclosure. After a right-leaning blog posted the emails Friday afternoon, Parker released a terse statement, most of which he reiterated Sunday while accepting Parmley's resignation.

"Over the last several months, several employees left their employment with the NCDP for business or professional reasons unrelated to their job performance, by mutual agreement of the parties involved," Parker said.

The state Democratic party has seen significant turnover in recent months. Several workers joined candidate campaigns. Another longtime office administrator stepped down.

Parker said he couldn't comment on any specific allegations on the advice of counsel but said, "There have never been any complaints or allegations concerning Jay Parmley before or since the matter."

Hayes McNeill, a member of the state party's Executive Committee, said Parker needs to take a hard look at whether he can continue as chairman because of how the situation has been handled. Transparency is needed from party leaders, he said.

"You have to realize the offense is not the problem," said McNeill, a former Forsyth County party chairman. He added, "There was a deficiency in supervision, management that allowed this thing to blossom out."

Through a party spokesman, Parker said Sunday night: "I have no plans to resign."

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  • Ezekiel c23 v19to20 Apr 17, 8:15 a.m.

    "Deflect and deny, right?"

    Hardly...but whatever lets you feel superior.

    "and you defend democrats all day but you are an admitted republican,"

    Also defend Republicans, Libertarians, Independants...

    "so do you think the democrats are too stupid to defend themselves and you are helping them out?"

    Nope. It's just that usually the "Republicans" on here are being too stupid. Can't help but speak out against the foolish of my own. As someone said previously about the Democrats...failing to do so constitutes an endoresment of the foolishness.

  • Ezekiel c23 v19to20 Apr 17, 8:12 a.m.

    "Only because you disagree with it."

    No, it would be because it is nonsense and rhetoric.

    "You have posted a lot of talking points throughout the months as well,"

    Of course.

    "also you have posted blogs as "trusted sources" and just plain partisan sources as gospel."

    Yes, beause Fox News is just loaded with information and stories defending GCC and the rights of homosexuals. However, perhaps, instead of attacking the source you might refute what was said instead.

    "But mostly you just cut and paste and then reply."

    I find it helpful to show you what I am replying to specifically.

    "I dont think I have ever seen you post something outright"

    They you aren't paying attention at all. Big surprise.

  • Ezekiel c23 v19to20 Apr 17, 8:08 a.m.

    "You are by no means an expert on reality, especially in politics. You do have a lot of experience with fiction though from what I read."

    Awwwwwwww, that's so cute! Didn't even read back and see what I was commenting on. Just blind hate of me making you spout nonsense. Too funny.

  • storchheim Apr 16, 5:56 p.m.

    "Least I hope your paid and not really truly that blinded." (to Zeke)

    How could you miss all his boasting about his yacht, house, power, salary, and incredible recent raise?

  • piene2 Apr 16, 4:49 p.m.

    "And I suppose you have never had the hots for someone and tried, tried, and tried again?" piene2

    One "no" should be enough.
    sillywabbitthepatrio"

    Yes right, and we are to believe you never tried more then once to put the date (not the term I wished to use) someone you were really hot for?

  • kimisufu Apr 16, 4:35 p.m.

    where did they get the black & white photo? looks like someone from the Third Reich

    HAHAHA I was just thinking it looks like something straight out of the 1940s or something.

  • seenbetterdaze Apr 16, 3:59 p.m.

    Nero and Caligula of the Roman Empire have nothing on todays Politicians! People should not be surprised...Ancient Historians wrote of all the shenanigans that went on Thousands of years ago in the Greek and Roman Empire. Our Founders actually read their History in GREEK and Latin! They tried to give us SMALL Government because they wanted FREEDOM and Liberty knowing how Politicians always WERE and ARE. "Government BIG enough to give your everything is also BIG enough to TAKE EVERYTHING from you!" a very wise man wrote.

  • Plenty Coups Apr 16, 3:57 p.m.

    westernwake-"And did the entire Republican party attempt to cover up Cary Allred's actions and pay off the victim to keep it quiet. The answer is "No"."

    He did it in front of the whole General Assembly. There would have been no point in doing so. I certainly don't support corruption and favor getting rid of corrupt politicians but pretending this is a one party problem is intellectually dishonest.

  • ladyblue Apr 16, 3:55 p.m.

    We need CHANGE alright. We need a different way to campaign in this country. Give each one 1 million dollars that is running for FEDERAL office (even president) and half a million for state so it'll be equal and NO CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ANYONE. Clean up our politics before it cleans out america. DENY LOBBYIST in politics

  • americaneel Apr 16, 3:17 p.m.

    where did they get the black & white photo? looks like someone from the Third Reich

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