Under the Dome

NC DMV no longer employs officer accused of conflict in audit

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles says it no longer employs Wes Little, a law enforcement officer connected to conflict-of-interest allegations in a recent state audit.

That follows word this week from the State Personnel Office that Little, who began work at the Department of Transportation in 1989, was on administrative leave.

DMV spokeswoman Marge Howell said in an email Thursday that Little "is no longer employed at the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Because of the required ongoing personnel process, there is no further comment at this time."

An audit report from the office of State Auditor Beth Wood last month described a DMV law enforcement employee who allegedly conducted side business with automobile dealerships he regulated for the state — selling and servicing fire extinguishers via a business registered to his wife — putting him in a position to influence sales unethically.

DOT Secretary Nick Tennyson pledged then that "appropriate action will be taken." The audit report did not identify the employee but said he is involved with the Southern Pines Fire and Rescue Department and that the fire extinguisher business was registered to his wife.

Wes Little, son of a 2004 Republican candidate for governor, George Little, is a volunteer at Southern Pines Fire and Rescue, and Little Fire Extinguisher Sales and Service of Southern Pines is registered to Teresa Little, whose business address matches the home address on Wes Little's voter registration record.

Although the State Personnel Office told The Insider on Wednesday that Wes Little was on administrative leave, the DMV says his separation was effective Feb. 4. Howell did not say whether Wes Little resigned or was fired and did not answer a request for clarification before the close of business Thursday.

She said last week that she could not identify the subject of the audit. Office of State Personnel spokesman David Prickett said his database "does not indicate a termination or a transfer."