Local News

Fired No. 2 DMV leader sues former boss

Posted November 4, 2008 6:56 p.m. EST
Updated November 4, 2008 10:41 p.m. EST

— A former employee of the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles filed a lawsuit Tuesday against his former boss and the state agency, saying he was fired out of retaliation.

Wayne Hurder, a 15-year employee who served as the division's deputy commissioner, said he was officially notified Tuesday of his termination because he allegedly interfered with the hiring process.

But Hurder and his attorney, Jack Nichols, say he was fired because he filed a formal complaint with Department of Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett in early September against his manager, DMV Commissioner Bill Gore.

"He told the secretary that there were a number of instances of improper hiring, basically getting jobs for friends – in some cases, Commissioner Gore seeking to get positions for family members," Nichols said.

The lawsuit claims Gore has abused his authority and that Hurder's termination was also a result of his refusal to give a contribution to Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue's gubernatorial campaign.

"I consider it completely unjust," Hurder said.

"He doesn't even make the final decision," Nichols said. "How can he interfere with or do improper hiring when he's not the final decision-maker? It doesn't make sense."

Hurder and Nichols say the termination describes a pattern within the DMV and that it is not the first time Gore has retaliated against a DMV employee.

In a separate case late last week, an administrative law judge ruled that fired DMV employee Ken Cassidy should get his job back. Cassidy, an assistant district supervisor at a Raleigh DMV office, was the source for several negative newspaper articles printed about the DMV.

"I think it helps describe a pattern there," Hurder said.

"His letter to the secretary absolutely meets the definition of whistle-blowing," Nichols said.

A spokeswoman for the division said Gore, whom Gov. Mike Easley appointed to the position in August 2007, would not comment on personnel matters.

Nichols said he plans to seek a preliminary injunction against the firing to get his client back to work as soon as possible.