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One Currituck board member resigns, other keeps position after hearing on “unbecoming” conduct

Posted at 10:10 PM, Aug 24, 2016

CURRITUCK COUNTY, N.C. - One advisory board member resigned, and another will keep his position after a special Board of Commissioners meeting on Wednesday.

Commissioners voted unanimously to allow Curtis Austin to keep his position on the game commission. He was accused of making an inappropriate post on Facebook about male anatomy. Commissioner Paul Beaumont wrote on in his own Facebook page that the post had "crude and pornographic verbiage."

Austin didn't get a chance to address the matter before the Commissioners. "There was nothing about [the post] that's pornographic," he told a reporter outside of the meeting. "It could cause me a lot of damage to my business, to my livelihood, to me as a person. For me not to be able to get up there and explain that, that's taking the easy way out."

Another board member, Jerry Malesky, voluntarily resigned from his position on the county's Alcoholic Control Board. He was accused of groping Commissioner Marion Gilbert. Both sides appeared to work out the issue outside of the meeting room.

Malesky didn't go into details about the negotiations, but maintains he did nothing wrong. "Everything has been resolved. It's dismissed," he said. "For the good of the county, I resigned voluntarily."

Both Malesky and Austin told a reporter earlier in the week this was all politics going too far. Commissioner Paul Beaumont's wife is running against Commissioner Mike Hall's wife for Register of Deeds in the county. That's led to a rift in the local republican party and claims of disloyalty. Christine Beaumont is running unaffiliated. Denise Hall is running as the republican incumbent.

Mr. Beaumont said the meeting had nothing to do with politics. "Is this political payback?" a reporter asked. "Absolutely not," replied Beaumont. He says the disloyalty claims have been resolved.

Austin was nominated by Mr. Hall to the game commission, but Beaumont said that wasn't a factor. "I would absolutely tell you this proceeding had nothing to do with politics," he said.

As part of Austin's issue being dismissed, county staff has been directed to formulate clear guidelines for online behavior by advisory board members.