Cumberland County DSS chairman resigns

October 11, 2010 9:08:31 PM PDT
The chairman of the Cumberland County Department of Social Services board has submitted his resignation effective immediately.Click here to read the letter

In a letter Monday, Chet Oehme told Cumberland County Board of Commissioners chairman Billy King that he was leaving because of two reasons.

"My inability to lead the present board to accommodate and cooperate with other government officials and administers in the spirit of openness, achieving public distrust with DSS," Oehme said.

He went on to say that he is also resigning because of the lack of fairness in the reporting of some local newspaper reporters.

Oehme's resignation comes days after he and the board fired back at Cumberland County District Attorney Ed Grannis. Grannis had accused the agency of withholding vital information in the 2009 Shaniya Davis murder case.

Davis, 5, was taken from her Fayetteville home in November 2009. Mario Andrette McNeill has been charged with kidnapping, rape and murder. He was seen on a hotel surveillance video with Davis. The girl's mother, Antoinette Davis, is charged with child abuse involving prostitution.

Last month, Grannis said problems started the day Davis was reported missing when DSS left detectives waiting hours for assistance.

Eventually, he said it took two court orders to force DSS to handover missing documents that were not included in an initial report to the DA's office.

But the Cumberland County Social Services Board later said there was no delay.

Grannis has since enlisted the help of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office to review the DSS handling of the case in order to have "a set of fresh eyes" on the matter.

Oehme served as chairman for four years and worked for the county for five years. He said he oversaw "one of the most important and difficult county departments."

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