North Carolina ferry captain and crew member suspended for hoisting ‘Trump 2020’ flag on state boat

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Officials with North Carolina’s ferry system have suspended a boat captain and crew member for a week after they hoisted a flag supporting President Donald Trump’s re-election on a state-owned ship.

Catherine Mitchell, a passenger on the MV Frisco ferry, took a picture of the ‘Trump 2020’ flag flying below the U.S. flag and even with the North Carolina flag and posted it to Facebook on July 26.

The suspensions given were for ‘unacceptable personal conduct,’ North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division spokesman Tim Hass said on Friday to The Charlotte Observer.  

NC General Statute futher clarifies that employees working for the state can’t use money, supplies or vehicles ‘to secure support for or oppose any candidate, party, or issue in an election involving candidates for office or party nominations’

Hass told media outlets that putting campaign material on a state-owned vessel is not appropriate. He did not release the names of the employees suspended for a week.

He plans to check with state officials to determine whether it is legal to release the names. 

Hass says the flag was only up for one run on the Outer Banks ferry. It was flown as the boat traveled from Hatteras to Ocracoke. 

NC Ferry Division and NC Department of Transportation’s Employee Relations Divisions investigated the matter and came to the suspension conclusion. 

It began after Mitchell’s photo quickly gained traction. 

‘I love our ferries. I love our ferry personnel. This does not make me happy,’ Mitchell’s post said, according to the The News & Observer. ‘I’m sorry, but is this legal? How would the person who flew this flag feel about a Hillary Clinton flag instead? I thought that government services were supposed to serve everyone and not be political.’ 

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