UPDATED: The executive director of the N.C. Democratic Party resigned Sunday as calls for his ouster mounted amid questions regarding a secret agreement to pay a former staffer to keep quiet about sexual harassment allegations.
Jay Parmley, who served a year at the helm of the party, denied harassing any employee and blamed right-wing blogs for "spreading a false and misleading story" about the incident. (Full story here.)
"Even though I have not done anything wrong, it is clear to me that I need to move on," Parmley wrote in the resignation letter. (Read it below.)
Party Chairman David Parker accepted his resignation but avoided any comment on the matter and suggested Parmley didn't deserve to be fired for cause. He blamed politics.
"After consulting legal counsel, and based on my own experience in harassment cases and my own personal philosophy, it became my opinion that there have not been grounds for termination for cause of Jay Parmley," said Parker, an attorney. "In this political world of rushing to judgment and the presumption of guilt, however, my legal and personal opinion has been outweighed by this having become a political distraction and issue."
Democratic activists responded quickly to the news and suggested Parker also should resign.
Watt Jones, a member of the state party's executive committee who raised concerns about the settlement agreement, said Parmley made the right decision for the party. "Clearly I think there are others who should resign, too," Jones said.
Democratic consultant Perry Woods of Raleigh echoed the sentiment. "I think Jay did the right thing," he said. "David Parker should join him."