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State treasurer will not approve proposed hire of town manager in community under state financial oversight

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State Treasurer Dale Folwell

Citing statutory authority and the Local Government Commission’s financial oversight of Spring Lake, State Treasurer Dale Folwell says he will not approve the funds to hire Justine Jones as the new town manager.

Folwell said late last week the primary goal is to save Spring Lake from drowning and return the town to financial health and operational stability, and what he termed new and unsettling information that has come to light about Jones’ past employment history.

Most recently Jones was briefly employed as the town manager of Kenly in nearby Johnston County, and was dismissed there after concerns were raised about her management of the small town.

It has since been learned that Jones also had a rocky employment relationship with Richland County, S.C. After Richland County terminated her employment, Folwell says Jones filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint that was dismissed, and she then sued the county.

Treasurer Folwell said he does not approve the hiring of Jones out of concern over the potential for legal and financial liabilities and potential adverse impact on town morale.

The LGC took control of the town's finances last year after years of mismanagement of taxpayers' dollars.

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to eastern North Carolina in 2019 to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of kiddo cuddling, reading, and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to westona@cravencc.edu.