Local News

State worker retires after refusing to honor Jesse Helms

Posted July 9, 2008 4:45 p.m. EDT

— A state worker who worked 29 years for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture decided this week to retire instead of lowering a flag to honor the late former Sen. Jesse Helms.

L.F. Eason III, 51, told his laboratory staff not to fly the U.S. flag or North Carolina flag at half-staff, despite a call from Gov. Mike Easley to do so.

When Eason's supervisor confronted him about the decision, he said he would rather retire, Brian Long, a spokesman with the Department of Agriculture, said.

Eason could still face some type of disciplinary action, Long said, but the nature of the action was never determined because he voluntarily said he was going to retire.

Eason told The News & Observer of Raleigh that he did not think it was appropriate to remember Helms because of his opposition to civil rights legislation and the national Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.