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McNeil's administrative leave extended

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The paid administrative leave of New Hanover County's Animal Control Services Manager has been extended.

Jean McNeil will remain on leave until Wednesday. She claims this is backlash for speaking up to her boss Health Director David Rice.

McNeil's says her employees at Animal Control did not get emergency pay during Hurricane Irene, nor were they paid for travel expenses.

Mcneil says rice has also failed to address concerns about violence in the workplace she raised.

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The verdict is out, but

The verdict is out, but let’s first recap our steps.
In August Dr. Jean McNeil demanded that her people get the correct pay. Dr. Jean McNeil informed Mr. David Rice that he has forced her to go over his head to get her people paid correctly. While she is thinking of a good way to get resolution, Employee #1 violates a policy to which Dr. Jean McNeil received a call from HR reprimanding her for her line staff contacting HR for a merit increase which is forbidden. So she had to perform her responsibility and investigate the situation and correct the individual. In doing so, Employee #1 filed a complaint for Harassment to Mr. Rice, and Mr. Rice sent Employee #1 to HR and had it reported to the state, all of which is out of proper protocol. Mr. Rice saw Employee #1 as an ally to attack Dr. McNeil. However, Employee #1’s personnel file is cluttered with numerous corrections over the past 20 years, even physically attacking a fellow employee in 2006, causing the new employee to quit her job the next day. So Mr. Rice didn’t have much to work with.
Before Mr. Rice closed this attempt, Employee #2 was going through some attitude issues at work. And it just so happens that during this time, she was having trouble concentrating on her duties. Her responsibility requires her to sit at a front desk meeting the public. This requires certain things like, not eating cookies at the front desk or drinking soda pop, or having long casual conversations with people around you or texting. So over this brief season where she was having trouble concentrating, it required multiple small corrections in all of these areas. It came to a head. She bowed up, got into her direct supervisor’s space, and started screaming at her supervisor in a very indignant manner. Her supervisor defused the situation and later that day, the supervisor reported to Dr. McNeil, the manager, with said employee all together. And before it ended said employee bowed up again, this time at her supervisor and at her manager. And nothing could defuse the situation except physically removing her from the office. Hence, violence in the workplace.
Just so happens, while at a rabies clinic at UNCW, on September 17, 2011, Employee #2 came out to the campus to participate in the clinic, but was not working. While there, several people witnessed Employee #2 get into a violent domestic physical altercation with her teenage daughter, throwing her to the asphalt several times. I watched this altercation for about thirty minutes, but did not get involved. A lady passerby stopped, took out her cell phone, and called the campus police. Within minutes, four campus police were on site. They did not see what had taken place, but they spent the next forty-five minutes kneeling down on the ground, talking to and comforting the daughter. As I drove by I could see red marks and tears and crying on the teenage girl. She was very distraught. Hence, my back ground knowledge of the violent potential of Employee #2.
About a week after all of this, Employee #2 was still having trouble concentrating on her duties, talking, eating, and drinking at her duty station. Her supervisor caught her again involved in these things. Her supervisor said well maybe you can do something other than being bored at your duty station. How about looking around to do something else, to take a break, as long as it is productive work? Animal Control Services is responsible for cleaning their own facility, up to this point, so it made sense for her to make herself useful. She was told to go and clean the shower, which she had been using more than anyone else that past week, because her plumbing is out at home. Employee #2 did clean the shower, and she did a very good job. But Mr. Rice caught wind of this. He was very upset. And since his complaint with Employee #1 was going nowhere, he called HR and instructed them to include Employee #2’s cleaning the shower as harassment and added it to their investigation for Employee #1.
Mr. Rice feels like he’s got his ace, but what he doesn’t know at this point, is that all the staff cleans the shower, including Dr. McNeil, because Property Management doesn’t know about it, and has never done it. Always keep in your mind, as you go through these steps that Mr. Rice needs to fire Dr. McNeil. He is desperate, because if it is proven that he has deliberately withheld any kind of pay, it is a criminal offense. What’s really happening, for the first time, is that Mr. Rice’s leadership style has been opened up for all to see. Mr. Rice does the most astounding thing I’ve ever heard: he gives a directive to a manager of a department not to do supervision of a line personnel, meaning Employee #2 herself.
What has actually just taken place, is that Mr. Rice recruited Employee #2 to be a mole at Animal Control Services and promised her protection. For the next two and one half months, Employee #2 made daily reports to Mr. Rice on every detail of every day. So, December 9 comes along, the deadline for all the investigations that Mr. Rice has brought against Dr. McNeil, a mandatory closure, and they have produced nothing. But he does not report this to Dr. McNeil. From where I stand, it looks like Mr. Rice is still trying to railroad Dr. McNeil, trying to gather information through his mole.
As I witnessed Dr. McNeil do everything she knows to do to bring truth and resolution, Mr. Rice continued his ultimate quest to destroy her. She defended herself aggressively, because Mr. Rice was using the system abusively. And since he is the final say, she turned to the media and went public despite the embarrassment it brings to her 21 year career. Dr. McNeil will be fired on the grounds of insubordination, which really are the actions of defending herself publically. None of the charges and investigations that Mr. Rice initiated produced a single shred of evidence to support his cause. Mr. Rice and his narcissist personality, which cannot accept being wrong, which cannot accept defeat, which cannot accept anything other than absolute control, has paved the way to the simplest wrongful termination I have ever experienced. I would expect more from a man holding a master’s degree. Dr. McNeil is a person of great value, of great virtue, of great innocence. She is a person who will not rock the boat. She is a team player, but everyone has their limit. New Hanover County will never be as rich without her presence. Shame on Mr. Rice.
Mr. Rice, it is my prayer that you receive what you have sown, thirty times over, and, from your knees, you find and discover the Truth and be redeemed, in Jesus’ Name.

Why is her boss not on

Why is her boss not on administrative leave while his failure to pay the employees according to county policy is being investigated? As a taxpayer, I call for his immediate suspension and recommend that he be terminated if it is discovered that he did not follow county policy regarding pay for the employees of that department. He is paid well to know and implement the policies of the county, and if he's not doing it, then we need to stop paying him and pay someone else that will do their job.

Animal Control Director

I am a former county employee---working in Human Services at DSS until I reached retirement age several years ago. Also I have had many dealings with animal control especially with the previous director.
I held a job position in a department where emotions ran high just because of the nature of the job from the public. It required a level headed director which I feel I was fortunate to have.
The Animal Control Department is also a department that can cause emotions to run high with the public and I found dealing with Jean McNeil, speaking here as a citizen, a refreshing change to the previous director. I just think that it was easier prior to Jean McNeil to bow the political pressure of the health board that so often left already victimized animals--many of whose only crime was to have been owned by irresponsible owners. I think Jean McNeil works well with the citizens of our county and has their respect and support. I find her focused on her job and very fair in her dealings with the public. She inherited a mess when she took over as Director of Animal Control and has given this department and its employees the much needed respect it had been lacking. It is a thankless job at times and cooperation among the various other county offices is imperative for it to run effectively. Internal political bickering and bullying has no place in any of our agencies.
The Health Director of our counties Health Dept is no different. He works for the citizens of New Hanover County 1st and foremost. I think he is being childish to say the least and needs to step up here and work with Jean McNeil and put aside his personal agenda, whatever it is. You sir work for all citizens in this county and you are not there to play games with employees livelyhoods. Why can't you deal with the issue or issues Jean McNeil has rightfully brought to your attention? This appears to look like you are protecting your ego rather than being a good "team player" as is so often preached by management who have hidden agendas. Ya know there are some health scores in many restaurants that are questionable---your attention could be used there.. I hope you are not pandering to the political aspirations or careers of elected county commissoners some of whom have been there way too long and are so very out of touch with the citizens they serve. You are loosing sight of the other employees who make much much less than you and work just as hard if not harder to deliver services to county citizens. I can say I truly miss the clients I use to serve. The residents of New Hanover County are remarkable people and I was honored to have been allowed to serve them and help them. But I in no way miss the bureaucratic garbage and political bickering and backstabbing within agencies. I am impressed that Jean McNeil stood up for her employees regarding their overtime. I am sure it would have been easier for her to not make waves and let the issue of overtime pay die for those employees. But it appears she has stood up for those employees. How does that saying go? The only thing needed for evil to exist is for good people to do nothing......If she is standing up for what is right for her employees you can count on her to stand up for the citizens and animals as well. I am paying attention to your job performance adn the performance of our county commissioners.. It is time for good people to stand up.

so heres whats gonna happen

so heres whats gonna happen to this person for standing up to whats right at work......the reason she's on leave is that this bozo is digging up some sort of reason to fire this nice lady and they're doing it so they can throw it up in her face and there's nothing she can do. like i was told this is a right to work state and the piece of useless pile of meat i turned in tried to write me up and turn that in as a reason for me not to get unemployment but you know it didnt work because i was able to get it they read through the lines of what he was trying to do. and because im a good person i didnt need it anyway i was only out of work a week so keep your head up McNeil they wont bring you down they didn't bring me down either i've bought all the worthless clowns a ticket on the karma train!!!! and you know who you are!!!

The real tragedy of the

The real tragedy of the story is the fact that she has been allowed so much screen time, throwing all sorts of inferences and allegations out there, and no one is able to comment due to personnel policies, which in essence, protect her. Starting to see a trend here with her..starting with her emergency pay concern and then when that didn't seem to generate enough stink, she starts accusing her boss of harassment, and now she is on to problem employees and work place violence? Seems to me like she is just trying to throw something out on the stoop to see if the cat licks it up-pardon the pun. I hardly believe that her suspension has anything to do with her emergency pay concerns. I'm curious to know what the people under her charge or her boss have to say. If they were actually allowed to speak about it that is. There has got to be more to this!

What you're not

What you're not understanding is that these issues have gone on for twelve years or so. The issues of employee's pay and violence in the workplace that you are hearing about are the latest incidents. And she decided to make her stand here and now. Twelve years of compromising, negotiating, and hoping wasn't going anywhere. What you also don't understand is how many conferences, meetings, and letter writings it took to get to this point. And Mr. Rice's response - because she isn't going to give up what is right - is to use his powers and authorities and push her out the door, like he's done so many other times. It's interesting to see how many folks use blogs to share garbage; it seems everyone has a gripe to share. I assure you, if you knew the facts like I do, your attiude would be completely different. I'm also amazed at how many people don't understand that when you have taken every possible course to make things right - even to the point that you're being set up for termination - demonstrates you have done everything remotely possible within the system. And the system forces you to make one last stand in the public view. Isn't it courious when a bully picks a fight with you, he tries to also make the rules on how you must fight?

Dennis

Thank you for this comment. You are spot on. Dr. McNeil is extraordinarily competent, kind, intelligent and well-respected amongst her peers and subordinates. I hope she does not suffer for standing up for her employees anymore than she already has.

I wonder how many of these

I wonder how many of these "Pro McNeil" comments are coming from the same person with different user ID tags????

I have never commented on

I have never commented on WWAY posts or on their news until now, to address your snide remark. The firing of Jeal is a travesty.

Why don't you use your true

Why don't you use your true name, I Do.. Your real question is... Why is She Loved by So Many People???

She didn't get extra,

She didn't get extra, "Emergency Pay". That's just terrible. How can we live in a County that treats its "Public Servents" so terrible ? Must be nice to be a County Employee. Get paid to sit on your butt at home.

My bet is.... The NH County Animal Control is running just as effeiciently without her, as it did with her.

Gramps

Put on them readin' glasses. The article says, "her employees at Animal Control did not get emergency pay". It does not mention her specifically. How many supervisors will put their job on the line for their employees? Few and far between.

If the other public servants working during the storm received emergency pay, I don't see why animal control is any different.

Where are these other

Where are these other employees and why arent they going to the news? If I was shorted time and my boss was standing up for me then I would be standing up for them, Or is there more to the story we arent hearing? Just Saying,,

I know for a fact that

I know for a fact that employees work at the animal shelter every day of the year. A small staff has to be there to take care of the animals and pick up injured animals between normal business hours.

As for working emergency hours and getting paid - you can check it out at the NHC web-site www.nhcgov.com and look under policies (New Hanover County Personnel Policies & Procedures). Emergency pay is covered in 3.17.1, 3.17.4, and 3.17.6.

NHC Policy 3.17.1 Emergency Pay Non-Exempt Employees “Non-exempt employees required to report to work or remain at work in response to the emergency shall be compensated at the time-and-one-half rate for all hours worked and shall receive administrative leave pay for that period of time constituting all or part of their regularly scheduled work shift.”