Bladen Sheriff says only way to remove him - "Judge or death" - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Bladen Sheriff says only way to remove him - "Judge or death"

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BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WECT) -Bladen County Commission Board Chairman Billy Ray Pait has called a special meeting for Friday to talk about the recent decisions of newly appointed Sheriff Earl Storms. 

"Some commissioners have said they would like to ask for Storms' resignation," Pait said.  "They asked him to make things better and he has made them worse."

The newly appointed sheriff of Bladen County, Earl Storms, took his oath of office Tuesday morning and hired back all but five detectives and deputies. 

Storms said everyone had to re-apply for their job and four of the five did not fill out applications.  The fifth person, Chief Deputy Phillip Little, decided to retire.

Storms was recently appointed by the Board of Commissioners to replace retiring Sheriff Steve Bunn.  Storms served as sheriff of the county from 1976 to 1994.

The deputies are Chief Little, Eric Bryan, Steve Lesane, Scott Pait and Debra Nelson.  Bryan was the runner up for the Democratic nomination for sheriff to Prentis Benston in a runoff election last month.  

In his office late Wednesday afternoon, Storms told that he would resign if commissioners ask him to do so.

"I'm not in politics.  I'm not running for nothing," Storms said.  "I'm a retired sheriff doing what seven county commissioners asked me to do."

Storms pointed out that he hired two of the deputies in question, Lesane and Bryan, when they started in law enforcement.  He says he has nothing against them.

Storms also believes it's illegal for the Bladen County Board of Commissioners to try to remove him from a job they just swore him into Tuesday. 

"The only man who can remove me is a Superior Court Judge or death," Storms said.

Storms indicated to that he wanted to make sure the office "was going to function as it should."  He immediately called for an audit of equipment so he knew what he was turning over to the next sheriff at the end of his interim term at the end of this year.

Pait says he approached Storms twice to discuss the move, but "he says I'll talk to you later."

"I'm getting a lot of flack from people in the county," Pait said.

Pait says Storms told him he might swear in the deputies later, but did not give him a timetable.

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