When I first moved to North Carolina, I took a job working the NCSU's Public Safety Department doing fire protection. I was a recent graduate of the Fire Protection program at what is now New Hampshire Technical College and had three job paths open to me. I chose to take the job in NC, since it was the only one in the field of my major.
After a while in that job, the department's director took a job in New York and the search was on for a new director. I was one of the handful of people on a committee to interview candidates for the job. Of the ones that we interviewed, the candidate that we unanimously placed at the bottom of the list got the job, since the vice-chancellor that oversees that part of the university used to work with that candidate at another college.
This man came in, chose some pets who would be "yes men" and proceeded to get rid of a lot of staff. A coworker of mine was screwed out of his job when they fired him just a few months shy of eligibility to access to the state grievance system, which happens at the 3 year mark of employment. The funny thing was the he was fired for missing fire extinguisher inspections at the NCSU Vet School. An entire crew went out to that school one night and they checked out all the fire extinguishers. If one was found not to have a tag with my coworker's signature on it, they documented it, signed the tag, and went on. Oddly enough, when I saw that the same thing was coming my way and I was assigned the same inspection, I found more fire extinguishers that the "railroading" crew missed than my coworker had missed and got fired because of it. I know this because I removed every tag they missed and placed a new tag on the fire extinguishers until I had a nice stack of tags. Funny how that works.
Anyway, the new chief was a real jerk. He was a drinking, smoking, cussing, rude individual, but was supposedly still a good Mormon who worked with and taught young Mormons, so I was told. This man and his lap dogs would follow officers and fire inspectors around the campus and spy on them. We saw them most times. He was often confrontational, even making up stories with which to verbally abuse people with. I was on the receiving end of several.
It took eleven years, but this man had to retire early because he misused and spent state money on personal items. Depending upon the source of the story, over $840,000 to $2.2 million were used for office remodelling, clothing, televisions, electronics, and the like. Before he left, he ended up canning a couple who worked for the department for abusing state property by using cell phones for personal use and running up a sizeable bill. Yet, he spent that much on stuff that was for his personal gain and not needed. Great use of our tax dollars, huh?
I said all that to say this. Last night, I ran across an article from about three months ago about a lawsuit involving this man and his secretary. I thought I knew her, as well, but it seems it is a different secretary that was working for him when I was there. Here is the article. Since it is short, I will post it here.
North Carolina State University has agreed to pay $95,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a former assistant to the campus’s police chief, who accused her boss of illegally recording her telephone conversations in order to intimidate her and cover up his alleged misdeeds, the Associated Press reported today. The university said it had settled the case to avoid prolonging the litigation, which began in 2001. The police chief, Ralph Lex Harper, was forced to retire in 2000 after it was disclosed that he had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in university funds on personal items, including a leather coat and dozens of pieces of electronic gear, as well as on travel and office decoration.
The N&O also reported this story in greater detail, but I missed it when it ran originally. The N&O story has more detail.
I find it amusing that some of the things that Harper took credit for in this NCSU bulletin such as "a systematic, organized fire safety program that requires that exit lights, emergency lights and fire extinguishers on campus be inspected once a month. Additionally, regular inspections of residence halls, fraternity houses and campus buildings are conducted." were proposed during my early tenure there and never implemented. Some of these things were in place, such as regularly scheduled inspections of frat houses, residence halls, and campus buildings. I did that for a living there and wrote many reports on those inspections. I was one of the first people who did plans review of the RBC Center when it was still in blueprint form. Unfortunately, I did not see other necessary items in regards to fire protection that were listed there. I lobbied for several major changes in the way we did business, but I don't know if they ever happened.
The end result is that this man was hired because of the "good old boy" system. It cost many people their careers at that institution, and the taxpayers millions of dollars. In addition, this man retired in shame, on every newspaper and TV station in the area. He sowed, he reaped.