Butner came under fire after complaints about several racist and other inappropriate messages he had posted on Facebook and Twitter. Examples of those complaints and the offensive media posts are set forth in the state board’s notice of hearing, here.
They include posts, such as the one below, which the state board identified with this proviso: “The posts appearing in Appendix B were copied from various online outlets and are attributed to Butner. SBE Staff is not able to independently verify whether all posts are in fact original.”
The vote came after a hearing this morning in which Butner did not appear or otherwise participate, citing health issues — although as some board members noted, he was given the opportunity to appear by telephone and elected not to do that.
State Board members Rhonda K. Amoroso and James Baker voted against the removal, saying the inappropriate conduct occurred before Butner became chair and noting that by all accounts he had conducted board business in a fair manner.
But state board chair Joshua B. Howard and members Joshua D. Malcolm and Maja Kricker said that Butner’s behavior, and his failure to refute any of the claims, justified his removal both for violations of the state board’s social media policy and for creating a perception of distrust in the county board’s mission.
These are remarks I would not tolerate in my home, I wouldn’t abide them in my workplace, and I sure as heck am not going to leave a person who says these things on a county board of elections — not on my watch. I’m persuaded that the offensive posts, just the nature of them, and the intemperate things he has said before going on the board are grounds for removal. If the public doesn’t have confidence in the inclusiveness of a county chair then that very much impedes the mission of the agency. The job of the county chair is to preserve public confidence in the administration of elections. No one who reads these things could feel that he’s qualified to do that. He is the public face of the administration of elections in Rowan County, and we’re about to change that face.