Chadbourn managers, police chiefs often have short runs

Chadbourn Town Hall

 Since 2005, Chadbourn has seen five full-time police chiefs and four interim leaders of the department. The town has seen similar turnover in the manager’s office, with four full-time managers, and the town finance officer serving as interim four times.

Anthony Spivey tendered his resignation to the board Tuesday, although the meeting was cancelled when only the mayor and one other councilmember attended. Spivey was chief from April 26, 2018 until April 6. He was placed on administrative leave March 5, and Lt. Ken Elliot appointed interim chief. 

Spivey was just the latest to resign or be fired from the town’s top law enforcement position. The town and District Attorney Jon David said that the State Bureau of Investigation is reviewing evidence that is allegedly missing  from the department. Spivey has not been charged with a crime.

Having lasted almost three years, Spivey stayed with the town much longer than most chiefs.

Steven Shaw was hired as chief on Dec. 1, 2005, and resigned Dec. 31, 2013. Shaw was the longest serving chief in recent years. 

Shaw was replaced by Robert Mumblow, who stayed in the position from Jan. 2, 2014 through May 23, 2015. As a detective with the department, Mumblow was also in charge of code enforcement for the town. 

Under then-manager Stevie Cox, Mumblow helped lead a concentrated effort to speed up cleaning and clearing of nuisance properties in the town. The police department’s role in the program slowed when funding became short and Mumblow was promoted. Mumblow is now with the Tabor City Police Department.

Scott Rockwell was interim chief of the department from April 23  until July, 2015, when the town hired Darrell Trivette. Trivette left Feb. 5, 2017. 

Rene Trevino, a detective with the department, moved up to the interim slot but only served from Feb. 5 through Feb. 24, 2017, after a controversy about social media posts. Trevino now works for the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office.

He was replaced by Brian Anderson as interim. Anderson was chief until Aug. 24, 2017, when Harry White was hired as the town’s first African American chief. White left May 3, 2018. While no reason was ever given for White’s departure from the town, sources close to town hall said there were questions about whether White was using his police car outside of town rules.

On the other side of the town hall, managers for Chadbourn have also had a revolving door.

Stevie Cox served as town manager from June 2007 until October 2014. Cox was arrested for impersonating a police officer, resisting/delaying an officer and speeding in March 2011, when he was pulled for driving 69 miles per hour in a 60 mile per hour zone, and handed the State Trooper Shaw’s badge. Cox was driving the chief’s official vehicle at the time of the arrest. He was later acquitted all but the speeding charge, and fined $100. Cox also issued a public letter of apology in that case. The charges were dismissed in 2013.

Town Finance Officer Patricia Garrell stepped in behind Cox in her first stint as interim manager. She moved back into the interim role again after Robert Jones (March 4, 2015-May 14, 2016) left. 
During that period, the town was sued by former Public Works employee Johnny King after Garrell took a photograph of King’s partially exposed buttocks. King was repairing a water break at the time, and was in a hole working with another employee.

King said in his lawsuit that Garrell caused him embarrassment by “loudly announcing” to other Public Works employees that she had a photo of his “butt crack.” King complained to the town council, but no action was taken. King filed a complaint with the state Equal Employment Opportunities Commission while on sick leave, and was wrongfully dismissed. 

Garrell served in the interim position for a year until Trey Burke was hired May 5, 2017. When Burke left on Feb. 6, 2018, Garrell again stepped into the manager’s position, again holding the post for nearly a year until John Bauer was hired Feb. 5, 2019. When Bauer left in June 2019, Garrell again moved into the interim role. She served as interim manager from June 25, 2019 until March 2 of this year, when Assistant Town Manager Jerome Chestnut was hired as manager. 

Garrell stepped down from the interim manager position after a dispute with Spivey over who could access GPS monitoring systems in town police cars. Spivey said the cars were already GPS tracked by a system that could only be monitored by law enforcement. Town Attorney Harold “Butch” Pope advised that having a system accessed by town staff could result in staff being called to testify in court. 

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About Jefferson Weaver 1386 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and the News Director for WTXY AM1540 & Kool 103.9FM Radio. He can be reached at (910) 632-4965, or by email at