On March 27, 2019 Cherokee County finance made Sheriff Palmer aware of an issue that concerned the use of a county issued cell phone. Chief Deputy Mark Thigpen was in charge of the issuance of county issued cell phones to employees of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Palmer questioned Chief Deputy Thigpen if he allowed the use of a county issued cell phone to be used by an ex-employee. The employee in question was his wife Libby Thigpen who was terminated from employment December 20, 2018. Chief Deputy Thigpen acknowledged that he in fact allowed her to continue to use a county cell phone for personal use approximately three months after her termination. Sheriff Palmer immediately terminated Chief Deputy Thigpen’s employment. Chief Thigpen immediately surrendered his firearm and credentials and was escorted from the property.
This conduct is in direct violation of county policy and procedure regarding the conduct and use of county issued property. See below for county policy:
From page 23 of County Personnel Policy and Procedures Manual
Section 4. Use of County Property
Use of property owned or leased by the county is intended for official county business only. Property including supplies, tools, materials, & equipment are not for personal use and should not be removed from
county premises except in the conduct of official county business.
Former Chief Deputy Thigpen made inquiry to County Manager Randy Wiggins office as to the amount of reimbursement to the county for the use of the cell phone. On March 28, 2019 Former Chief Deputy Thigpen made reimbursement to Cherokee County in the amount of $190.07. Attached are all known emails and a receipt for reimbursement.
Sheriff Derrick Palmer
577 Regal Street
Murphy NC 28906