North Myrtle Beach, SC - NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The embattled former director of public safety for the City of North Myrtle Beach is no longer an employee, according to City spokeswoman Nicole Aiello.
In a press release Saturday, Aiello announced William Bailey is no longer an employee of the city, effective Friday, April 30, 2010.
According to two sources, Bailey was given an ultimatum by North Myrtle Beach City Manager John Smithson to resign or be fired by the city on Thursday afternoon. Sources say Bailey asked his attorney for clarification of the ultimatum.
Sources said the situation involving the city and Bailey boiled down to a battle over dates. Since Bailey's termination letter is dated Friday, he will be able to receive retirement funds.
Bailey was in negotiations with city officials over his current position after being demoted to lieutenant. The demotion stemmed from a December 2009 investigation into a gun taken from Bailey's personal vehicle.
Bailey told investigators it was locked in his glove compartment, but an investigation revealed the glove compartment in which it was stored did not have a lock.
Horry County Police were dispatched to Bailey's home after the director reported two of his personal vehicles had been broken into between 10 p.m. Dec. 27 and 8 a.m. Dec. 28. Bailey told police he became suspicious of criminal activity after noticing his truck, parked in his driveway, had been left unlocked throughout the night.
After opening the driver's side door of the truck, a police report states Bailey found papers thrown over the seats and the glove compartment and center console opened. A handgun stored in the glove compartment, Horry County Police say, was among the items taken from the vehicle.
Bailey later discovered his wife's car, parked inside of a garage, had also been tampered with. Items were strewn across the inside of the vehicle, but Bailey was unable to identify any stolen items.
Further questioning of Bailey's family revealed his son discovered what he calls a "suspicious man" in the neighborhood around 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 21. When Bailey's son pulled over his vehicle to question why the man was in the area, he said he was visiting his girlfriend.
The man then proceeded to reach into his camouflage backpack, for what Bailey's son presumed to be a gun, and drove off. Bailey's son told police he returned to his home, grabbed two baseball bats, and unsuccessfully attempted to track the unidentified man down.
North Myrtle Beach officials released a statement revealing Bailey had been placed on administrative leave after an investigation revealed Bailey's glove box did not have a lock on it. As stated in an incident report, Bailey's gun could not have been safely stored inside of his truck.
WMBF went to North Myrtle Beach to find out how people are reacting to the news.
"It does not surprise me at all that he no longer works for the city," said North Myrtle Beach resident. Cameron Mott. "All cities are going to have some kind of drama at some point- it's just our turn."
Jerry Novak says he has had enough. " I wonder why it took so long ," he said. "I really really do think that it does put a negative light on North Myrtle Beach" he said.
Novak said "It seems to me he should have been fired long before this- or resigned or whatever."
North Myrtle Beach resident Bill Bellamy says everyone makes mistakes and he respects Bailey because he has worked hard for the city over the past 20 years. "I mean he's done a great job," he said. "You can find fault in anything or anyone."
Bellamy thought the city could have forgiven Bailey for what they say he had done, "The Lord forgives us, we just came out of church. So why can't the city forgive him?"
Others, like Novak, say the damage is done. "Who knows if it can get much worse or not," he said.
If they agree on anything, it's relief that this matter may be coming to an end.
"I think it needs to be over with," Bellamy said. "They need to get over with it and move on because it's about protection, it's about the whole city not just about one person that may have made a mistake."
WMBF News did speak with Bailey's attorney on Sunday, and he declined to comment.