Former KDH mayor questions town on Tillett, Merrell

By on December 30, 2015

Former Kill Devil Hills Mayor Terry Gray sent the following to The Outer Bank Voice as a letter to the editor. Although we don’t regularly run letters to the editor, we occasionally will post them as guest commentaries.

Superior Court Judge Jerry Tillett

After reports in the local papers of the latest shenanigans related to the attacks on Judge Jerry Tillett, I became concerned that the Town of Kill Devil Hills was involved in the effort.

On Dec. 7, 2015, I requested some information from the Town to see if the suspicions were true or not.

The answer to my question that I received on Dec. 8, 2015 was as follows:

“The Kill Devil Hills Board of Commissioners did not meet to authorize any action against Judge Tillett or Dan Merrell as the Town has not taken any action against Judge Tillett or Dan Merrell.  The Town was contacted by the NC Judicial Standards Commission and the NC State Bar and Town Staff were interviewed by those entities.”

This initial statement seemed to satisfy my concerns and I was a happy camper.

Then I read further and discovered that the Town actually had been notified by the Town Attorney with an e-mail in 2013 that was addressed to the State Bar and copied to the Town Manager, Assistant Town Manager and the Town Clerk filing a complaint against Dan Merrell and including Judge Tillett in the complaint.

What bothered me was that the attorney did not just copy the town officials in his complaint to the bar, he also stated quite clearly that he was acting on behalf of the town using terms such as “we contend” and then stating “The Town asks that these matters be investigated.”

Excuse me if this seems to indicate the town essentially lied to me about their involvement.

I now ask, was the Board of Commissioners advised of the e-mail sent by the Town Attorney?

More importantly with the e-mail from the Town Attorney stating the Town is requesting investigation, was the Board of Commissioners directing this action or were they kept out of the loop?

I think there are a lot of unanswered questions, and it appears the Town’s response and actions on this issue are confusing at best and deceitful at worst.

My question now is, when did the Board of Commissioners direct the Town Attorney to send the e-mail and file the complaint and did the Board support the employee time, energy and expense in pursuing this over the course of two years?

Were these actions voted on by the Board and is there a record of such a vote?

Gray served numerous terms on the town’s Planning Board. In 1991 he was elected to a four-year term as a commissioner, but with the unexpected death of Mayor Clyde Bounds, Gray ran for and was elected to a two-year term as mayor in 1993.

Gray also served on the Tourism Board and was on the Board of Directors of the League of Municipalities.

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