City hires new attorneys to investigate grievance

Mar. 03, 2014 @ 06:31 PM

 Attorneys from a Raleigh law firm will take over the investigation into a grievance against City Manager Strib Boynton that was brought by a member of the city’s executive team.
The City Council on Monday voted to appoint Poyner Spruill to look into the claims of Human Relations Director Al Heggins, who filed the grievance after an alleged verbal confrontation with Boynton last month.
Attorneys from Smith Moore Leatherwood in Greensboro were investigating the grievance, but opted to end their involvement in the matter because of concerns about a potential conflict of interest. Some of the firm’s attorneys have represented the city in past legal matters.
Smith Moore will not bill the city for its work on the investigation.
The council appointed the new firm following a closed-door meeting to discuss a personnel matter. The council also met in closed session last week, but took no action.
Boynton and Heggins have declined to comment on the grievance. Boynton has said he will respond to Heggins’ claims when the investigation is finished.
After Heggins brought the grievance Feb. 14, Boynton asked City Attorney JoAnne Carlyle and Human Resources Director Angela Kirkwood to investigate her claims.
The city decided to enlist outside counsel to avoid conflicts, since the case involves an allegation against the city’s top official.