A petition to remove Roosevelt Higgs as chairman of the Edgecombe County Democratic Party will be heard by state party officials.
On Wednesday, state Democratic Party Executive Director Meredith Cuomo told the Telegram, “The (state Democratic Party) is taking these calls from our fellow Democrats very seriously. In line with the (state) Democratic Party Plan of Organization, the statewide party officers unanimously determined that the matter will proceed to a hearing. The Council of Review, a diverse group of Democrats representing each North Carolina Congressional District, will hear the matter in the very near future.”
The petition is the second time in as many years that a petition has been filed with the state party seeking Higgs’ removal as party chairman.
The petition was filed by Sarah Peveler, president of the Democratic Women of Edgecombe County; Deborah Jordan, chairwoman of the Edgecombe County African American Caucus; Linda Goines, vice chairwoman for precinct 1-4; Janice Bulluck, former chairwoman of precinct 12-3; and Judith Moss, vice chairwoman for precinct 1-2.
The petition alleges Higgs is in violation of the party’s Plan of Organization and asks that he be removed from office.
Peveler, as lead petitioner, told the Telegram, “None of the petitioners can comment because this is a grievance and petition in process under the jurisdiction of the (state) Democratic Party Plan of Organization.”
According to the petition, a copy of which was obtained by the Telegram, the petitioners state: “His (Higgs’) conduct in wantonly disregarding his duties is such that he should be banned from ever holding office in the party in the future.”
It also claims Higgs violated the Plan of Organization and has a pattern of failing to carry out his duties as Edgecombe County party chairman.
The petitioners claim the 2019 county convention was conducted improperly and that Higgs, as chairman, failed to provide proper advance notice. They also claim multiple voting irregularities at the convention.
A letter written by Curmilus “Butch” Dancy and published in the May 6 edition of the Telegram also referenced concerns about Higgs and the convention. Dancy, of Pinetops, is a member of the county party’s executive committee.
In his letter, Dancy wrote, “Higgs was calling around saying the convention was canceled because he was refusing to participate and cooperate.”
Dancy also referenced a conference call that he initiated with state party officials: “I have some concerns that Edgecombe County Chair Rev. Roosevelt Higgs refused to participate and to cooperate with the state Democratic Party Chair Wayne Goodwin and Political Director Lorenzo Pedro on a conference call on Monday, April 6.”
He continued, “The reason there was a conference call on Monday, April 6, was because I had contacted Goodwin. Higgs was very disrespectful to many on the call, especially Deborah Jordan, Sarah Peveler, Goodwin and myself. Higgs refused to respond to questions and refused to send information to the state headquarters.”
Dancy’s letter also was forwarded to state party officials after it ran in the Telegram.
The current complaint against Higgs is the second in as many years.
Last year, a petition filed by Peveler seeking to have Higgs removed was not responded to by the state party, something that did not go unmentioned in the current petition.
“Had the 2019 petition been properly resolved, the current petition may not have been necessary,” it stated.