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  • Salisbury Post

    West End project coordinator resigns due to confrontations with city staff, residents

    By Brad Dountz,

    27 days ago

    SALISBURY — Chanel Nestor, the former grant coordinator for the West End Byrne Criminal Justice Initiative (BCJI), resigned from her position this week based on a series of incidents that reportedly occurred outside council chambers during the April 16 Salisbury City Council meeting.

    During a presentation going over the current state of the $800,000 BCJI grant, Nestor spoke to the city council defending the work so far and criticizing the city for questioning certain aspects of the project. Not long after she made her statements, Nestor and a few other people, including Salisbury-Rowan NAACP President Gemale Black, walked out of the meeting.

    According to Nestor, once all parties had left the council chambers, the incident intensified.

    “I got into a verbal disagreement with the NAACP president and this isn’t the first time that he’s had outbursts during meetings and that I felt like there’s a possibility that this individual, who is a strong stakeholder, could interrupt the work and the progress that is being done,” Nestor said. “I fought to get more understanding of why he felt that my words and my actions weren’t supported and I got a full verbal blow from him while leaving the city hall.”

    Additionally, Nestor said that Deputy Police Chief Brian Stallings was “harassing” her to leave and that Communications Coordinator Kaisha Brown was “instigating the situation.”

    “Mind you, I had my seven-year-old son with me while I’m going through this,” Nestor said. “After that, I felt like I can’t work in this environment.”

    Nestor also said city leadership “made it very hard to deliver an innovation-based project” and that Council Member David Post was “very critical” of the work that was completed.

    Late in the week, Post explained that he fully supports the initiative and defended his inquiries, saying he only had questions about how the grant funding was being allocated.

    “I would’ve liked to have seen more of the funding make it into the community,” Post said.

    Post said his main concern was why Idea Analytics, the city’s research partner for the initiative, was being paid almost a quarter of the grant amount.

    “I know that they helped us get the grant, but should some of those funds have been going to the community?” Post said. “I’m not sorry for my questions, I’m sorry it created such a ruckus.”

    In a written statement addressing what transpired on Tuesday, the city said, “T hat its employees were attempting to de-escalate a tense situation and that they acted appropriately. The city regrets the tension at the meeting, but appreciates the employees’ efforts to assist.”

    In response to Nestor’s resignation, the city said that it, “ Appreciates all the work she has done, and continues to wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

    “Looking ahead, the Byrne Criminal Justice Initiative (BCJI) grant is a major win for our West End community. Salisbury City Council, city staff and many city departments have fully supported the BCJI program since it was first announced in 2021 and will continue to do so. City council looks forward to the upcoming grant funding distribution that will bring expanded programming to benefit and help sustain the West End neighborhood.”

    Attempts to contact Gemale Black for comment were unsuccessful.

    *This article has been corrected. Brown’s title is communications coordinator not director.

    The post West End project coordinator resigns due to confrontations with city staff, residents appeared first on Salisbury Post .

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