BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Tempers ran high and patience ran thin in Brunswick County Tuesday afternoon.
Members of the county's department of social services board kicked a reporter and a fellow member out of the meeting.
"No, I'm not going to leave the meeting because I'm part of this board and I have a right to do what's right," said Patricia Sykes. Brunswick County DSS chairman Charles Warren put his gavel down when Patricia Sykes wanted to change Tuesday's meeting agenda.
"Ms. Sykes, on your way out, you will be suspended for the rest of this term," said Warren.
Sykes was quick to respond. "You can't suspend me!" she said. "This is a voluntary position. You can't do anything get me off this board."
Warren ruled that Sykes was behaving out of order, and had the sheriff's office escort her out of the meeting.
With one empty chair at the table, the tense moments continued, but things remained mostly calm -- until the board wanted to go into closed session, that is.
By law, members have to state the reason for going behind closed doors. One reason it stated for doing so: to consult with an attorney.
But since the board doesn't have an attorney, a reporter for another media outlet questioned the board's actions, resulting in her being escorted out of the meeting as well.
After the second removal, we asked Patricia Sykes if there is a problem with the board.
"Yes, there are few problems, but it does not mean the board could not be corrected if [Warren] was taken off."
She says something needs to be done so that the board can do its job for the people of Brunswick County.
Currently, county commissioners can't remove people from the DSS board.
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