by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A unanimous three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals has upheld the dismissal of former Charlotte City Council candidate Eric Erickson from his state government job.
Erickson was working as a probation and parole officer in the N.C. Department of Public Safety while running for city council in 2017.
Here’s the Appeals Court’s summary of the conduct that got Erickson fired:
Petitioner was granted a community service leave day for the purpose of volunteering with the Board of Elections. On 6, 7, and 8 September 2017, Petitioner used his community service leave to campaign for Charlotte City Council and run personal errands.1 On that day, Petitioner wore a “Vote for Eric Erickson” shirt and passed out campaign literature.
Also on 8 September 2017, Petitioner visited Sunset Auto Inspection (“Sunset Auto”). Two managers, Ryan Bailey and Christopher Bailey, were present at Sunset Auto at the time, and both managers interacted with Petitioner. Petitioner presented himself as a member of law enforcement by showing a badge and state-issued radio.
Petitioner asked the managers of Sunset Auto if he could place a yard sign for his political campaign outside the store. Petitioner also represented his personal vehicle was a law enforcement vehicle used to do undercover work and asked for a law enforcement exemption for his personal vehicle’s window tinting. Christopher Bailey informed Petitioner the personal vehicle was not registered to a law enforcement agency and referred Petitioner to the local DMV office for further information.
Petitioner then left and returned with paperwork purporting to grant the exemption. Christopher Bailey called the DMV Inspector’s Office and was informed Petitioner had been told by the DMV his vehicle did not meet the requirements for the exemption. Christopher Bailey testified Petitioner became “upset” and repeated his request for the exemption.
Ryan Bailey filed a citizen’s complaint with Respondent reporting the 8 September events. As a result of the complaint, Respondent initiated an internal investigation. The investigation revealed that on 8 September 2017, while Petitioner was running for Charlotte City Council, Petitioner utilized his community service leave for the purpose of partisan political campaigning and to conduct personal business at Sunset Auto Inspection. The investigation also revealed that contrary to Petitioner’s statements to his supervisor, no early voting was held at any school locations on 6-8 September 2017. The investigation further revealed Petitioner failed to request and receive approval for secondary employment with a security business Petitioner owned and operated, “Equestrian Police Company.” Petitioner was dismissed based on the findings of the investigation.
By the way, Erickson finished third — with 11.5% of the vote — in the Democratic District 2 city council primary election.