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Civil service board upholds deputys firing
But is critical of FCSO tactics
-Adams Charles
Charles Adams - photo by Submitted
A former sheriff’s investigator is weighing his legal options after the Forsyth County Civil Service Board upheld his firing.

Charles Adams, 58, was dismissed from the sheriff’s office on April 29 based on charges that he had been untruthful, misled his supervisors and neglected his duties.

The civil service board’s decision on Adams’ appeal came in a letter July 30, several weeks after a three-day public hearing on the matter.

Attorney Lance LoRusso, who represented Adams, asked the board to reverse the termination and reward his client with back pay.

LoRusso said Wednesday his client is considering whether to ask Forsyth County Superior Court to review the case.

He also noted that the comments in the letter from the civil service panel “do not speak well of the disciplinary process at the sheriff’s office.”

While the board sided with the sheriff’s office regarding the violation of a truthfulness policy, it did not agree with the other charges against Adams.

“The board finds the neglect of duty evidence to be weak at best and is consistent with past sheriff’s office disciplinary actions of piling two or three charges on for one offense, perhaps in the hope that one of the charges will stick,” the letter stated.

“While the board is not persuaded by this tactic, the evidence of untruthfulness was overwhelming enough and that alone is sufficient to justify affirming the termination of your employment.”

The civil service board’s letter was also critical of testimony from “a number of witnesses of cursing and abusive language being used by supervisors in the sheriff’s office toward their subordinates.”

Adams, a 39-year veteran of law enforcement who ran unsuccessfully last year for the county’s clerk of court post, could have his peace officer standards and training certification revoked as a result of the termination.

The three-member civil service board meets monthly to determine government employee appeals on a case-by-case basis. Employees who have civil service protection can appeal their firing to the panel.

During Adams’ hearing, the board heard testimony from Sheriff’s Lt. Duane Piper about an April 13 meeting he and Capt. Mark Flowers had with Adams.

Adams, who originally worked out of the sheriff’s south precinct, had been reassigned to the north precinct and put on light duty while he recovered from a knee injury he suffered Feb. 19 while chasing a burglary suspect.

Piper, one of Adams’ supervisors, said the investigator lied to them about why he went to the department’s south precinct after an April 8 physical therapy session instead of returning to the north precinct.

Citing sheriff’s office policy, Piper said lying is a fireable offense.

Piper also testified that during the meeting Adams gave three different reasons for going to the south precinct.

Adams countered that Piper was “totally out of control” in the meeting. He said Piper yelled at him and didn’t give him a chance to answer any questions.

On a calendar submitted as evidence in the hearing, Adams described the incident and a previous meeting with Piper and Flowers as “abuse meetings.”

Adams said he never filed a complaint or reported Piper’s behavior toward him. He also said he told Piper and Flowers that Sgt. Jonathan Neville ordered him to go to the south precinct that day.

Attorney Paul Frickey, representing the county, pointed to two statements Adams wrote during that meeting. In both, Adams had noted that no one told him to go to the south precinct.

E-mail Frank Reddy at