Board revokes license of local funeral director

Published 9:54 pm Friday, July 27, 2012

Betty B. Randolph’s license to serve as a funeral director has been revoked by the N.C. Board of Funeral Service.
The board also placed Randolph on probation and imposed a $5,000 civil penalty on her.
Randolph, in an interview Wednesday, said she preferred not discussing whether she will appeal the board’s decision or take the matter to court.
“I shouldn’t put that ace card on the table at this point,” she said.
Randolph described the actions taken against her as “devious” and “ugly.”
“You see the timing on this? There is an evil spirit somewhere,” she said about the consent order being made public within a few days of the funeral home opening under a new license and funeral director. “At this point, I really think this is unfair.”
The board approved the consent order, signed July 3 by Randolph, on July 11.
Randolph was associated with the former Randolph Funeral Home, 219 N. Bonner St., Washington. Last week, the funeral home opened under the Bonner Street Funeral Home and under the direction of a woman who is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. The Board of Funeral Service’s website shows the funeral home’s license expires Dec. 31.
The revocation is the result of a consent order agreed to by the board and Randolph. The revocation was imposed because Randolph continued to practice funeral directing after her license was suspended for six months in August 2011.
The consent order notes that Randolph violated state law by serving as a funeral director without registering to practice outside a funeral establishment with the board, she made false statements concerning her operation of a funeral home on the death certificate of Eva Mason and failed to file death certificates of Mason and Mary Davila within five days of their deaths.
Randolph may apply to reinstate her license seven months from the “affidavit date,” which the consent order defines as the later of Feb. 1 of this year or the date confirmed by Randolph by affidavit that she ceased to practice funeral directing after she was served with the suspension notification in August 2011.
Randolph must meet several conditions before she applies for reinstatement of her license. Among those conditions is the following: “Respondent shall not have held out to the public that she owns or operates a funeral establishment, including but not limited to the use of her name in the registered name with the Board for any funeral establishment.” Randolph also must demonstrate she is fit to resume serving as a funeral director in North Carolina, according to the conditions.
Randolph said her problems with the board began last year when she missed a deadline for submitting a report. The death of a family member in California resulted in emotional distress, which, in part, resulted in her missing the deadline.
“The board decided they wanted to have a judicial hearing and wanted me present. I refused to go. I did not go,” Randolph said.
The suspension of her license came after that August 2011 hearing.
On Sept. 29, 2011, after the hearing, a board representative came to the funeral home and took her license and the funeral home’s license.
“I said, ‘What are my alternatives?’” she said.
Randolph said the representative told her she would have to obtain someone with a funeral-director’s license to oversee funerals.
“That’s what we did,” Randolph said.
After December 2011, Randolph Funeral Home ceased performing funerals, she noted. At the end of 2011, Randolph said, she applied for a license renewal, receiving it in January of this year.
While the funeral home was attempting to put its self in position to resume providing funerals, Randolph said, it referred funerals and related services it would have handled to other funeral homes.
Randolph said she became frustrated with how her situation was being handled earlier this year. Earlier this month, a board representative inspected the funeral home July 10 and issued a license in the name of Bonner Street Funeral Home.
“The thing they are wanting to kick (me) about continuously is that I did not come to the judicial hearing, I was not obedient, and I would not go to Raleigh,” Randolph said, adding that she is upset at being referred to — in a deposition related to her case — as a child who needed to be trained and having a board representative complain about being taken to a back room so he could inspect records. That room is a conference room off the funeral home’s lobby.
Randolph said all she wanted from the board was instructions on what it wanted her to do or not do.
“To this day, tell me if I’m wrong, to this day the state board has not sent one thing. … I followed the rules. I did what they asked,” she said.
Asked if she plans on applying to have her license reinstated, Randolph said she’s got a license. She produced a pocketsize license that expires Dec. 31.
Peter Burke, the board’s executive director, wrote in an email that Randolph is responsible for surrendering her license, both the wall certificate and the pocket card.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike