Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Bald Head Island begins search for new public safety chief

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Following the resignation of its public safety chief, the Village of Bald Head Island is taking steps to install a new leader who will oversee a department of roughly 20 first-responders.

Former Public Safety Chief Chip Munna
Former Public Safety Chief Chip Munna

The new recruit will fill a vacancy created after Bald Head Island Department of Public Safety Chief Jerome “Chip” Munna Jr., while on suspension, handed his resignation to superiors late Tuesday for reasons not made public.

Village spokeswoman Karen Ellison said the vacancy will be advertised within the next few days.

Munna had served 14 years as an emergency responder for the Village of Bald Head Island and in 2009 became the first chief of its then-new public safety department, which formed with the merger of the island’s previously separate police and fire agencies.

“We thank him and wish him well,” the village stated in a newsletter the day after Munna’s resignation.

His salary was $97,206.

Munna had been on paid administrative leave since August 17 while the village investigated “concerns identified through an external, third-party review,” according to a statement from the village based on remarks from Bald Head Island Mayor Andy Sayre. The statement did not clarify what those concerns were.

“The basis of the concerns regards potential violations of Village policy,” the village explained. “This is an internal matter and does not involve any legal issues.”

A short bio of Munna still available on the village’s website said he “strives to instill a high level of confidence and unity within the community. This customer service oriented mindset has resulted in a wonderful rapport with island residents and workers.”

As for his suspension and resignation, the village in its statement asked persons to “remember that this is a confidential matter concerning personnel and, as such, disclosing detailed information may violate our policies and the rights of our employees.”

Assistant Village Manager Chris McCall is serving as acting director of public safety as the island searches for a full-time replacement.


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