FIRST ON 3: New Hanover Co. Animal Control Manager fired

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Submitted: Tue, 01/10/2012 - 9:47pm
Updated: Wed, 01/11/2012 - 3:52pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Animal Control Manager Jean McNeil has been fired. McNeil confirmed her dismissal to WWAY, but she said she could not talk about what happened at this time.

McNeil had been on administrative leave since Dec. 22. She says being placed on leave was retaliation from her boss Health Director David Rice after McNeil raised concerns about her workers not receiving emergency pay during Hurricane Irene. She also blamed Rice for ignoring her allegations of violence in the workplace.

The Board of Health discussed McNeil’s suspension last week, but no decisions were made at that time.

Stay with WWAY for more information as it becomes available.


  • not concerned says:

    Dr. McNeil has retained an attorney and has been instructed to get as much publicity as possible in the hope that the county will settle with very little “bad” press .
    The public will probably never know the details but Dr. McNeil was NOT fired because of her stated reasons. There is a LOT more to it than that. HR and county attorneys were consulted before she was fired.
    Having said that, I actually really like Jean and I hope that the person she used to be is still in there somewhere because if what I have heard is right, there is no way she will win ANY lawsuit against her former employer.

  • seekthetrjth says:

    The whole OT and workplace violence charges are most likely a red herring for something that had to br huge to fire Ms. McNeil. Te County would not fire her without just cause knowing a massive lawsuit would follow.

  • You made your bed says:

    Couldn’t agree more. The people in the “know” as well as those who were miserable under that type of authority are sure to breathe a sigh of relief.

  • Charles Walters says:

    Bring violence in the work place to the attention of her boss, and demanding the pay her staff is entitled to for working during a Hurricane gets a person fired. New Hanover County is going to pay out of the a** for targeting Dr. McNeil. Personally the city and county governments need an enema to clean out all of the CRAP. Then maybe Wilmington and New Hanover County will become a place where people want to come and live again.

  • Guest Paula says:

    It deeply concerns me when a person who has held a position for a number of years, with excellent record of same, can be so easily terminated. It’s also hard to believe that there is not some validity to the retaliation accusations.

    I choose to call myself a friend of Jean, and have personally met her in past. One of the sweetest personalities I’ve encountered in the Wilmington area. Very dissappointed, and praying for her. Through faith, it will work out for her good.

  • PublicAvenger says:

    You mean she didn’t get extra pay, during the hurricane, Boo Hoo. Maybe she should take a year off, at the expense of the tax payers, to “recover” from such a “injustice”.

  • Disgruntled says:

    What folks in North Carolina continually fail to recognize is that whistle blower laws at the municipal/county government level are virtually non-existent!

    This is a right to work, at-will state. They can fire you at any time, and for the flimsiest of excuses. She can sue, but it’s likely not to amount to much, and she will have to decide if she wants to go through the hassle, and the money to do so. All of these things favor the employer.

    Unless a solid case can be made for a violation of state or federal law (and you can bet that the lawyer weasels looked at this closely before they pulled the trigger), she probably doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on.

    It is JUST the way them good ol’ boys like it! I see a classic bait and switch here…employees of all stripes are told they will have to come in during an emergency and do their jobs (meanwhile, everyone else has run for the hills, are hunkered down, or getting drunk with family) and they will be compensated by the in-force pay plan.

    This employee (apparently) attempted to ensure her folks were paid according to that plan. Now, the county (apparently) is backing out of that agreement.

    I hope she has a compelling case…but, look at who is running things around here (ethically challenged) and you’ll soon see that in order to get along, you must go along (if you want to remain employed).

  • Karma!! says:

    All I can say is JEAN, what comes around goes around!! You laid in bed with that crooked NHC system for years, now they are giving you a taste of your, and their, medicine! Swallow it down hon!!

  • Private says:

    What’s so funny are the comments saying she was trying to get extra money. Yeah……for her employess. As far as it being a tax payer issue. It comes from a totally different budget. State of ER funds come from State…not county. So, tax payers should be concerned that the state budge didnt kick in and do what was suppose to be done. instead, your county money paid when it shouldn’t have. If other county employees got paid ER pay, why wouldn’t the animal control? They are county employees too. They had to report during the storm too. what makes them any different? How many people wouldn’t love to have a supervisor who will stand up for them?

  • truthhasnoagenda says:

    Do you honestly believe that someone of Dr. McNeil’s stature would be fired over OT pay or her allegation of “workplace” violence. Of course not–the county isn’t stupid enough to go on a witch hunt with her–no one knows the whole truth except the powers that be. Things (or people) are not always what they seem.

  • Guest28451 says:

    Lets see Hostile work conditions CHECK.. Failure to pay due wages and salary to employees CHECK (both are federal law violations). This smacks of retaliation plain and simple and people and jurisdictions are going to learn the hardway that crap dont fly anymore (this is no different then the abuse of power in Leland by Tim Jayne except its the NHC Health Director who is like an MD who thinks his crap dont stink and he’s above the law.

  • Powerful Oz says:

    Check bounced.
    Check bounced.
    Just because she made wild and unsubstantiated claims don’t
    Make it so.
    Silly poster, tricks are for kids.

  • Zoe says:

    I am an unemployed, 50 y/o housewife. The last job I had was 20 years ago as a legal secretary/office manager. I may be a little rusty but:

    Hire ME~~ will work helping animals FOR FREE

    I am floored that anyone would ask for “emergency” pay on a day that they were to be there ANYHOW.
    A state of emergency does NOT mean you get to capitalize on the emergency.
    Bad enough you are trying to get MORE money out of the tax payers in a depression, you are abusing animals to do so.

  • Guest1121211 says:

    Two sides to every story. I am sure if you asked her former em that is all I am sayingployees you would get a different side to the story that made the County’s decision. Coocoo for Cocoa Puffs

  • Morgan Robinson says:

    New Hanover will never find a better employee and manager than Jean McNeil. Heads should roll after this decision. I
    I’m thankful that it is an election year. It appears that the “good ole boy” network is at it again.

  • Peyton Garrett says:

    Enough of the Good ole Boy crap. Good Ole Boys get stuff done . Networking, starting businesses, Employers. It offends Me as a 58 year old white male who has done nothing but try and make a way through this world without a handout, bailout, loan or anything else from the government. I have employed as many as fifty people well above minimum wage, helped a few buy a car, 2 a home albeit a mobile home and am proud of it. I am a “Good Ole Boy”. My Dad was, and most of the Men from where I grew Up are or were “Good Ole Boys” They could get it done. Race not an issue. Egos persist these days. That is shameful.

  • Ken says:

    The public doesn’t have all the information on this matter and it probably never will but I can assure you if the Federal Government investigates this matter we will know about New hanover County having to pay back wages to employees. It that happens, Ms. McNeil would have a good case also against the county and it is likely the county will end up having to pay her a sum of money also while not admitting and guilt. I don’t know how you pay out like you are guilty of a charge without admitting guilt but it is what they do.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    the decision is not always made by the county. They have an insurance policy to protect them against wrongful actions.

    If a suit is filed for wrongful actions, rest assured the insurance carrier will be on it like flies on honey.

    They will quickly determine whether the costs of defense will outweigh the cost of pe-trial settlement. That determines how the case will be settled.

  • Wade Griffis says:

    It seems like somebody oversteped their authority. I have never been introduced to this woman: however when I had an issue about one of my dogs, she was in the lobby and was very graceous and helpful.

    Something about this story smells a little bit like dog poop.

    More news will come out of this.

  • Guest don't you say says:

    It always seems that UPPER MANAGEMENT finds it is easier to snuff out the ones that try to do the right HONEST thing rather than to get RID of the ones that aren’t! Many times the management will move the “trouble” makers or the ones that can’t… do the job to different departments. Just look back over the last several years and you will see. My hat is off to Dr. McNeil, I hope she blows more whistles and the alarm for the real employees who do the REAL work, while others Sit in high places!!!! Just goes to say, you can’t go over your boss, he will will see that you pay.

    I believe Dr. McNeil was close to her 30 year mark! Isn’t that sad that they just can’t see the right side for all the “buddy” clouds they have over them.

  • Truthbuster says:

    Not to be rude–but you haven’t a clue. Who would fire a well-respected black woman for no reason. Wake up. Something big had to go down.

  • jusbecky says:

    I hope she gets a good lawyer and sues the pants off those heathens. This was just wrong, but I bet one of the board’s cronies is waiting in the wings! Anybody taking that bet?

  • Guest28429 says:

    Doesn’t anyone think that after 21 years , this little bit would get her fired? doesn’t anyone think there’s something more that’s not being said? Theres something else going on and not being released.

    BTW she should change the three day rule, and get some people up there certified in animal behavioral testing not just winging it

  • Guest2020 says:

    My dad worked on the emergency crew at GE. When he was called in for the snowstorm of 1989 as well as a few hurricanes., he was doing his job, but he got the extra pay for being there when he could have been at home looking out for his family.

    If the rules say they are to get emergency pay, then they are entitled to collect emergency pay whether in the private sector or working for the government. If the allegations are true then labor laws dictate that they receive any and all pay that the rules dictate.

    Also, if you have been out of the workforce that long, it means that you don’t need the income that a job would require. Sorry, but the rest of us do.

  • guesty says:

    Go to animal control on division drive and tell them you would like to volunteer at the shelter. Then you can work helping animals FOR FREE.

  • Guest Paula says:

    Seriously?????????????? Please find out policies on pay for normal, and emergency. Then you can respond with updated information, for, according to you, you have not worked for 20 years. You may be surprised to find that people to receive emergency pay, as they are leaving their loved ones, in the case of a weather emergency, and going to work. Much like hazard pay. And while you’re checking, look up the minimum wage…….. it to has changed. Respectfully disagreeing.

  • Guest1111111111 says:

    New Hanover County lost a wonderful, well-liked, intelligent, competent, and productive employee today. This news is truly disheartening. Dr. McNeil will be greatly missed and cannot be replaced. The health department needs to explain to the public the rationale behind this decision, otherwise it looks like a witch hunt, plain and simple.

  • jennifer says:

    I am sorry that Dr MsNeal was let go but something had to give!! Yes there are diffront sides of the story and we will NEVER know the whole truth.. I have had nothing but problems w/ her and some of her (friends) workers. Working in afew vet clinics and volunteering as a cert. wildlife rehab… plus being a taxpayer… I am required to keep a log of each call and it’s out out come so I can back up my statements…. I am a very laid back person… Time and time again seeing and dealing w/ Dr McNeal was just a nightmare! For each of the positive comment left there is 1oo + harmfull ones… Animal Control was set up to benifit the animals not harm them & thier owners needlessly..
    With that said I PRAY that she excepts the county’s choice of letting go and not waste any more of the taxpayers money w/ the court system.

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