“For three of you tonight marks the last time you will meet as county commissioners,” he began. “On this occasion allow me to personally thank each of you for your service to Yadkin County…but now it is time for truth. You are all too aware of the recent issues involving the health department. You are also quite aware of the charges made regarding e-mails passed between me and the county health director.
In September, Phillips resigned from his position as chairman of the Yadkin County Board of Health after health board member and county commissioner Brady Wooten and county commissioner Kevin Austin suggested he had exchanged inappropriate e-mails with the county health department’s outgoing director Mike Reavis.
As a result of the allegations, the county hired an outside law firm to investigate the possibility of criminal activity being uncovered in the e-mails exchanged between Phillips and Reavis. Attorneys from Winston-Salem’s Womble & Carlyle reported to the county commission it found no information in the e-mails that violated any general statutes.
The allegation directed toward Phillips came as county officials learned that there had been lapses in the notification of woman who had been screened by the department for potentially life-threatening diseases like cancer.
“Until now I have remained quite silent, at least publicly, and it is time for full disclosure,” he said. His wife, Kim Phillips, attended also.
“After tonight you will no longer be able to hold me or other county employees hostage by using your threats to ‘disclose’ the contents of those e-mails. Yes, I forwarded many e-mails containing useless, senseless, inappropriate, ‘Playboyesque’ junk back and forth over several years, and even though the outside attorney you hired to review these e-mails has stated that they do not rise to the level of a crime, it is something going forward I will not do.
“I deeply regret and apologize for these actions. I accept full responsibility. I blame no one but myself. So that everyone present may know, I resigned as chairman of the Board of Health as soon as I found out that I was at the center of this controversy. I resigned not to protect myself, but to protect the integrity of the Board of Health. I ask now only that going forward you find it in your hearts to forgive me.
“Forgive me for those actions which caused this controversy. Forgive me for harboring the anger directed at those who continue to accuse me. Though it has taken some time, I have found it possible now to forgive each of you.
“Mr. Wooten, you have stated both before this group and before the Board of Health that you have not seen the e-mails passed between myself and Mr. Reavis. Yet, after the Board of Health voted to present the county commissioners with a new candidate to replace me, you told Mr. Reavis in private that you had seen that candidate’s name on these e-mails and that you would put all this back on the table if that name were not withdrawn.”
He also addressed new county manager Aaron Church.
“Mr. Church when I suggested that you had inappropriately made the PAP smear issues and the employee complaints political by taking them to the board of commissioners instead of to the Board of Health, you may recall standing and shaking your hand in my face and yelling at me.”