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Former ALE director contests firing: calls it political

Former state Alcohol Law Enforcement Director John Ledford is contest his firing, contending it was politically motivated and unlawful, even though it was done amid the typical replacement of agency officials whenever there is a change in administrations.

Ledford, a longtime Democratic-connected figure, stepped down from his position as director in advance of the new Republican administration earlier this year. He reassigned himself to the position of an agent stationed in Asheville, where he is from.

New Department of Public Safety Commissioner of Law Enforcement Frank Perry dismissed him, saying Ledford had no authority to take that position, nor to give himself a salary far in excess of what the job pays – nearly $66,000. The department contends Ledford was not a career state employee, and so cannot challenge his dismissal.

Ledford, in a filing with the state Office of Administrative Hearings, contends he was a career employee because he had the job for the preceding two years, and had no disciplinary problems.

Ex-ALE's Ledford to run for Madison sheriff again

Fired former state Alcohol Law Enforcement Director John Ledford will run for sheriff of Madison County, the job he held for three terms before joining ALE.

Ledford confirmed his plans to the Asheville Citizen-Times.

“This last week I’ve had a number of persons in the county reach out to me,” Ledford told the newspaper. “We are announcing our intentsions to run for sheriff of Madison County for 2014.”

On Monday, the state Department of Public Safety released its reasons for terminating Ledford on April 10. It was because in December Ledford – in anticipation of losing his job when the new Republican administration took over in January – demoted himself to agent and took a vacant position in Asheville that he had transferred from Wilmington, and gave himself a salary of $65,887. The position was budgeted at $39,198.

Last year, Ledford told The News & Observer that he intended to finish his career in law enforcement after he left ALE. A state audit earlier in the year criticized him for driving his state car home to Asheville on weekends; but Ledford’s calendars indicated he was attending state meetings on those occasions.

DPS says ex-ALE director Ledford's move was inappropriate

The state Department of Public Safety on Monday disclosed it had "ethical and legal concerns" that prompted it to fire former Alcohol Law Enforcement Director John Ledford after he demoted himself to agent.

Ledford had no legal authority to transfer a vacant position in Wilmington to Asheville, where he is from, and then essentially assign himself to that spot at an "advanced competency" salary level far in excess of what the position pays, according to a letter to Ledford by DPS Commissioner Frank Perry.

Former ALE director dismissed

Former state Alcohol Law Enforcement Director John Ledford has been dismissed from his job as an agent with the agency.

Ledford stepped down as director in late December in advance of the new governor's administration taking over in January and, in most cases, replacing key positions. In hopes of avoiding the ax, Ledford demoted himself to field agent and returned to his home district in Asheville, taking a pay cut from $110,667 to $65,887.

Ledford was dismissed on Friday. The state Department of Public Safety, of which ALE is a part, did not disclose a reason for his dismissal.

New law enforcement leaders named

Five new officials who will lead state law enforcement agencies were announced and sworn in at a ceremony in the State Capitol on Thursday.

Col. William J. Grey, 52, of Cary is the new commander of the State Highway Patrol. He has been with the patrol since 1991.

Gregory K. Baker, 49, of Raleigh will be the new director of the state Alcohol Law Enforcement. He is currently an FBI agent and has been assigned to the Triangle since 2008.

Glen B. Allen, 54, of Clayton will be the new chief of the State Capitol Police. Allen is currently the police chief in Clayton.

Headquarters puts brakes on ALE attempt to buy new fleet

Headquarters has put the brakes on the state Alcohol Law Enforcement’s purchase of a fleet of brand new vehicles.

In between directors, the state Alcohol Law Enforcement put in a purchase order for 31 new vehicles. But ALE was supposed to wait, just like all other divisions in the state Department of Public Safety, for the routine replacement schedule based on mileage.

As a result, headquarters let ALE know that couldn’t happen; the order was canceled and the vehicles were never delivered.

Interestingly, the order was placed on Jan. 4, three days after ALE Director John Ledford resigned from the position. New public safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan has not yet named a replacement. The division is being run by interim director Mark Senter, who was a deputy director.

Auditor, ALE standoff continues

Well, she's thought about it and the answer is -- no.

That's the response from the general counsel for State Auditor Beth Wood in answer to a "cease-and-desist" letter handed Wood on Wednesday as she was about to discuss an Alcohol Law Enforcement report with a legislative committee.

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