CFCC Board of Trustees votes to remove Ray Funderburk

CFCC Board of Trustees votes to remove Ray Funderburk
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 8:43 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 8, 2023 at 11:19 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Cape Fear Community College Board of Trustees voted 9-4 to remove Ray Funderburk III from the board at a meeting on Wednesday.

A memorandum from James Morton’s office was sent to inform about a meeting on March 6 to discuss the potential removal of a Trustee “pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 115D-19(a).”

“I’ve told Ray to be prepared for anything. I’ve been told that they’re going to limit the amount of time he has to respond,” said Funderburk’s attorney, Gary Shipman. “In a public forum, you’re accusing a man of engaging in immoral or disreputable conduct, and you’re going to keep a watch on him? So somebody thinks that the votes have already been counted.”

Board of Trustees Vice Chair Jason McLeod presented allegations against Funderburk, saying he used his position of power to pressure a teacher to change a student’s grade so the student could play baseball.

“If undermining the administrative roles of these folks is not enough, simply the subject matter of a trustee inquiring about a student’s grade is justification for removal in my opinion,” said McLeod.

A letter sent to the board of trustees from the teacher says they were approached by coaches, parents and a trustee about the matter. Shipman has denied those allegations and said Funderburk’s removal is directly caused by his criticism of the board’s president Jim Morton.

“Mr. Funderburk does not understand or want to understand the difference between policy-making and administration,” said Chairman Bill Cherry during the meeting. “He doesn’t know his job as a trustee.”

During the meeting, some trustees brought up their concerns about Funderburk’s actions, saying they believed he acted in a manner he knew to be inappropriate. Others expressed concerns about hearing facts rather than opinions and pointed out the fact that the teacher in question and the staff members who complained about Funderburk’s comments were not present to testify.

After two and a half hours, trustees voted nine to four for Funderburk’s removal. Deborah Maxwell, Deloris Rhodes and Jonathan Barfield were the only trustees to join Funderburk in voting against the motion.

“The decision to remove Ray Funderburk, III, as a Trustee was made by the Cape Fear Community College Board of Trustees. I respect the opinion of the Board and appreciate their dedication to the College’s ongoing success,” said CFCC President Jim Morton in a statement.

Cherry released the following prepared statement after the move:

The Cape Fear Community College Board of Trustees takes its duty to the college and the community seriously and believes the decision to vacate the position of Ray Funderburk, III, as a Trustee is in the best interest of the college and its students.

After careful consideration by the Board and despite warnings, Mr. Funderburk’s actions overstepped his role as a trustee.

The Board of Trustees remains committed to the success of CFCC and its students and looks forward to supporting the college as it moves forward.”

Funderburk was appointed in August 2022 along with Lanny Wilson for a four-year term with the board, both succeeding Robby Collins and Mary Lyons Rouse at the end of their respective terms.