01PubPenOn my desk, I have a complete chronicle of Troy Williams’ personal and vindictive war on the Cumberland County Health Department and its director, Buck Wilson. It is a notebook documenting Williams’ quest to call into question the loyalties, competency, management and qualifications of health department staff and leadership. 

Shame on Troy Williams. 

These documents, based on untruths, mean-spirited accusations, “anonymous” sources and false narratives, not only depict journalistic irresponsibility but beg the question, “Why?” What is the motivation behind these attacks? When you read and study the documents, it’s apparent that Williams’ first salvo at the health department came in a letter he addressed to Cumberland County Health Department Director Buck Wilson on March 3, 2017. In this correspondence, Williams stated his presence at a health department public board meeting was “allegedly” (his word) disparaged. Allegedly?  

Defined: “Allegedly, adverb, used to convey that something is true or has taken place, but there is NO proof.” 

Shame, Troy Williams. Either you were disparaged at the public board meeting or you weren’t. It was a public forum. Surely there were witnesses he could have asked if he wasn’t sure. 

During the next 90 days, using (and abusing) his position on The Fayetteville Observer’s Community Advisory Board, Williams penned five more unsubstantiated attacks on the health department, its management team and its board, each relying on vague, ambiguous facts and “anonymous” sources. Some of these allegations reached into other North Carolina counties and dated as far back as 2010. 

In Williams’s Fayetteville Observer article of April 9, he got so excited and carried away with his rant disparaging Wilson’s statewide and nationwide achievements that he insinuated Wilson spends too much time away from Fayetteville because of state-level obligations, wasting time and money. In the article, Williams wrote, “I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but his out-of-town travel expenses for 2016 were $9,331.” True or not?

To make matters worse, during this same period of time, The Fayetteville Observer fed off Williams’ toxic rants and maligned agendas, contributing nine additional negative articles and editorials critical in some respect toward the health department. 

Shame on The Fayetteville Observer for being such a poor example of the Fourth Estate. 

Unaware, Cumberland County Commissioners, internal auditors and county attorneys only got involved after Williams orchestrated a “fake news” TV report with CBS affiliate WNCN (licensed in Goldsboro and serving the Raleigh Triangle). 

The report brought forth three anonymous sources, all claiming to be nurses and charging that female patients who received abnormal test results from pap smears or breast exams at the health department were never informed of their results. One of the anonymous nurses interviewed was not actually a nurse and never worked in the health department’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program. Another one of the anonymous sources was Barbara Carraway, a former Cumberland County employee and close personal friend of Williams. 

Of course, after much consternation, hundreds of hours of wasted time and thousands of taxpayers’ dollars needlessly spent on false allegations about how the health department failed to notify women about abnormal mammograms and pap smears, the narrative was finally debunked. 

Shame on the Cumberland County Commissioners for being lead down a rabbit hole by Troy Williams, who never filed a formal complaint, but instead served them up a baseless charge born from anonymous sources, enhanced by over a dozen fake news articles and a staged TV news report by WNCN. And yet, to date, no one has questioned Williams’ motives. Even more shame for not standing up for your own local county health department, its board, staff and leadership team. 

And, now, after exoneration, shame on those who will dare try to cover up and justify their actions by claiming, as I have already heard, “… the good health, safety and welfare of every patient is our responsibility.” Well, of course it is. All the more reason for prudent, well-thought-out actions by our county government done in a timely manner. 

Shame on Pastor Troy Williams for pursuing this track of discourse. His “alleged” grievances are needlessly harming our community and disrupting our quality of life. His actions embarrass the newspaper industry and discredit those honest citizens who serve on The Fayetteville Observer’s Community Advisory Board. His actions have tainted WIDU’s airwaves and for purely personal reasons known only to him. 

Williams seems to be dishing out harsh injustice and wrongful allegations in the same spirit of the ones he was subjected to five years ago. In 2012, he underwent a similar kind of cruel and insensitive public scrutiny when he was arrested by Fayetteville Police for prostitute solicitation on Bragg Boulevard. Though the allegations against Williams were many, the authorities were careful not to let his trial play out in the media. Williams deserved that, and he was exonerated of all the charges. 

However, the situation he’s creating now seems to be just the opposite. He is using a willing media to vent his personal bitterness and hostility. 

Make no mistake about it. This is all about his personal grievance against the health department and Buck Wilson. Need proof? June 13, the very day The Fayetteville Observer broke the story debunking the anonymous allegations against the health department and exonerating its management and staff, Williams filed a Public Records Request with Cumberland County, requesting Wilson’s cellphone records to question the use of Wilson’s personal phone. 

We have a great health department here in Cumberland County that serves our residents well. We have a health facility that radiates compassion and sensitivity with precision that can't be faked or contrived. Its leader, Buck Wilson, who happens to be a middle-aged white guy, is a talented, results-driven, conscientious, professional without a blemish on his record. Demographics aside, this is the type of visionary leadership this community needs to survive.

If a dedicated professional like Wilson leaves our community to go elsewhere, it will not be because of the likes of Troy Williams. It will be because he can’t work within a system that will not allow him to do his job and serve the people. Much is expected of our health director, and fending off baseless allegations and anonymous complaints that contribute nothing to our quality of life is a waste of his time and talent. 

Shame on all of us if we do not protest loudly and adamantly reject this type of behavior. Only then will we stop lending credibility to those, like Troy Williams, who use the pulpit, radio waves, newspaper and our local government to endorse and underwrite their personal underhanded agendas. 

Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

Photo: Troy Williams

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