Decision possible on Barber investigation at Monday meeting

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 1, 2013

SALISBURY — County officials could make a decision on the findings of a censure investigation against Commissioner Jon Barber at Monday’s commission meeting.
County Risk Manager Yvonne Moebs, who investigated Barber’s use of the county copier, told commissioners on Nov. 18 she couldn’t be sure how many copies Barber made or the estimated cost of the copies.
Commissioners have had two weeks to review the findings and make a decision.
But Barber maintains the copies were for projects related to county projects or community programs.
When asked about the upcoming meeting Friday, Barber said simply, “I have not committed any abusive power, especially related to copies. None were for personal use and my county manager and clerk will prove so.”
In Moebs’ report, some staff members said Barber made more than 4,000 copies and some were made after commissioners confronted Barber about the use during a closed-session hearing.
Barber said he was told by commissioners to work on some county projects alone and made copies for the projects accordingly. Those projects, he said, included homeless veterans programs and food programs for low-income families.
Still, commissioners have argued that Barber was told to stop making copies and continued until the investigation was initiated in September.
Barber said the investigation was prompted after critical comments he made to the Post and at Salisbury City Council meetings.
County commissioners are also expected to select the commission chairman for 2014 at Monday’s meeting.
Chairman Jim Sides has held the post since last December.
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.