Judge upholds trooper's firing over second job
A state judge ruled Wednesday that the North Carolina State Highway Patrol was justified in firing a trooper last year for conducting outside business while on duty.
Trooper Hubert Sealey, 46, was dismissed May 3 following an internal investigation into "non-criminal personnel issues," Highway Patrol officials said at the time.
The investigation determined that Sealey, who also is a Robeson County commissioner, often carried a county-issued cellphone while on duty and made and received calls on behalf of a mental health agency operated by his wife, according to the 12-page ruling by Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison Jr.
Sealey told investigators that he wasn't involved in the company, Independent Community-Based Services LLC, but Steve Jordan, director of the state Division of Mental Health, and administrators with a regional organization that provided licenses that Independent needed to operate, said that Sealey would represent the agency in meetings and would call them about it, according to the ruling.
Highway Patrol officials fired him after determining in the investigation that Sealey had lied to them, violated orders not to conduct outside business while on duty and was neglectful of his duties as a trooper.
Sealey challenged his dismissal, saying it was racially motivated, but Morrison ruled that the patrol had proved it had sound reasons to fire him.
The case has been appealed to the State Personnel Commission.
A case involving a second trooper fired at the same time as Sealey is still pending before an administrative law judge.
Lt. Michael Faison, 43, also was accused of working on outside business while on duty.
Both men had been assigned to Troop B in Fayetteville.