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Archive for December, 2012

Former NHC Animal Control director speaks on settlement

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) — Last week we told you a settlement was reached between New Hanover County and former Animal Control director Jean McNeil.

The county’s insurer settled an administrative appeal filed by McNeil, who was fired in January.
McNeil will get $120,000. In exchange, she agrees not to pursue any other action.

Today, McNeil sent a statement to WWAY which says in part:

“You do not pay $120,000 if someone is rightfully terminated. You also do not furnish the individual with a glowing letter of recommendation. So I got what I wanted. I exposed these practices. I retired- and… I got a $120,000 bonus for my troubles.”

Below is the entire statement.


Dr. Jean P. McNeil — Response to Settlement Agreement 12/17/12

Dave Rice had been cheating me and my staff in emergency pay for twelve years, and I was sick and tired of it. When it happened again with Hurricane Irene, I decided I couldn’t accept it anymore. So, I stood up to Dave Rice, and he hated that I did and he hated me for doing it. It really attacked his ego.

What Dave Rice didn’t know is that I had already met three times with Debbie Nash in Human Resources, and I was in the process of planning my retirement. All that was left was for me to choose a date with that 90 day window before retiring. But, before I left, I made a choice to do my best to make our pay right. I was not aware at this time that Bruce Shell, Chris Coudriet, and Dave Rice were already planning to fire me so they could give Animal Control Services to the Sheriffs Department.

The Truth of the matter is that this is “business as usual” for these people. They have no problem with taking fully committed employees and demolishing their reputation and career for their agendas. This particular agenda was to multiply taxes, fees, and fines on county citizens under the umbrella of animal services. (Taxation by citation.)

I served the county well, and they know I did. Chris Coudriet, Bruce Shell, and the citizens know that I served the county well. Even though we are all aware that this is how political businesses are run, it is still shocking when you are that victim. Dave Rice was asked to fall on the proverbial sword in having me terminated, and he did so. But, the orders were from Bruce Shell and Chris Coudriet.

No one knew that I was interested in retiring. When Dave Rice started attacking me and exercising abusive authority toward me, I fully understood what he was going to do. That is why I went to the media first to announce what he was planning.

Dave Rice went through my division with a fine tooth comb, making lies and manufacturing evidence to have me terminated. He failed miserably on all counts. I accepted a settlement because I knew they had reached a ceiling. They offered to allow me the opportunity to resign on a number of occasions, but I refused. It is still a wrongful termination and accepting resignation would allow them to sweep this under the rug.
That’s why they paid. They knew it was a wrongful termination. Think about it — they didn’t fight me for a year, spending thousands of dollars and resources, manufacturing a case against me, paying attorney fees — all supported by taxpayer dollars. You do not pay $120,000 if someone is rightfully terminated. You also do not furnish the individual with a glowing letter of recommendation.

The Truth is that Attorney Scott Hart and Dave Rice were more than convinced that they would have an unfavorable decision if it was heard by the state. It i5 my belief that if this evidence had been heard by the state that Chris Coudriet, Dave Rice, and Bruce Shell would suffer great embarrassment. Because it demonstrates how leadership in New Hanover County conducts our business.

I got what I wanted. I got Dave Rice’s testimony. I got to retire. I got to highlight that the county cheated paying my people. I got to highlight workplace violence and the lack of responsible response by the administration. I also got to expose the underhandedness that our top leaders will do, with their eyes wide open, pre-meditated and deliberate, blatant disregard to following established policies and procedures. The hypocrisy is extraordinary.

So, I got what I wanted. I exposed these practices. I retired — and I got a $120,000 bonus for my troubles.

File records are available on everything that was to be presented to the state to whoever would like a copy.

More: continued here

FATAL ACCIDENT: Victim identified in tractor trailer wreck near Lake Waccamaw

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

One person was killed in a major accident early Tuesday morning involving two tractor trailers on Hwy 74/76.

More: continued here

FIRST ON 3: Brian Berger arrested for DWI, colleagues respond

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger was arrested again this morning. This time for driving while impaired.

Wilmington Police arrested berger in downtown Wilmington around 2 a.m. Officers say they pulled Berger over for making making “an abrupt left turn” in the 200 block of Market Street.

Other officers were called in to do field sobriety tests. After two breath alcohol tests and a blood test, police arrested Berger and booked him into the New Hanover County Jail around 6:45 a.m. He left at 8 a.m. after James Canoni posted an $800 unsecured bond for Berger.

New Hanover County Commissioners past and present say they thought the distractions were over from berger.

Commissioner Jonathan Barfield says this may be a sign that the community needs to come together to support Berger.

“I think as a community, at this point, we need to number one lift the man up in prayer and find a way to build a support system around him to help him through whatever he’s dealing with,” Berger said.

Beth Dawson says she thought with new commissioners in place things would be different. She hopes this does not distract the new board for the business at hand.

Former commissioners Rick Catlin and Ted Davis are no strangers to Berger’s run-ins with the law.

Now a state representative-elect, Catlin says he does not have plans to sponsor any legislation to allow voters to recall Berger.

Davis, also new to the state house, says he is exploring the idea, but he wants to make sure it is the right move for North Carolina and that lawmakers are not opening up Pandora’s box.

We have tried to contact Berger by phone, text, and at his home multiple times today, but he has not gotten back to us.

Berger’s next court date is January 16.

More: continued here

World’s tallest elves? Seahawks distribute Toys for Tots

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — ‘Tis the season for helping others, and the UNCW men’s basketball team did just that today. The team helped distribute gifts collected for Toys for Tots.

Hundreds of needy families pushed carts through a warehouse packed with toys, picking out gifts to put under the tree Christmas day.

Not only did the players help others. They also got a little christmas cheer of their own.

“It was fun to see their faces and see how happy they were to get the gifts and to help out and have everybody around the community have a merry Christmas,” UNCW guard Freddie Jackson said.

The families received not only toys, but the entire Christmas experience, including treat-filled stockings, clothes and money for Christmas dinners.

More: continued here

ONLY ON 3: Mom of 2004 murder victim wants assault weapon ban

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As students in Newtown, CT, other than those at Sandy Hook Elementary, the site of last week’s mass shooting, returned to class today, the White House said President Obama supports Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s plan to introduce a bill to ban assault weapons.

One Wilmington mother says that in her mind that isn’t even a question.

In June 2004 Holly Naujoks’s life changed forever when her daughter Christen, a UNCW student, was gunned down by her crazed ex-boyfriend.

“Christen was full of life,” Holly said. “She was eager to learn, and she had a personality that you were just drawn to she was bubbly.”

In 2004 Christen Naujoks’s ex-boyfriend John Beck began stalking her and going to extremes such as dressing as a woman to disguise his identity. His behavior led the Naujokses to take out a restraining order.

“That made him angry,” Holly said. “He didn’t like that. When he got angry, he wanted revenge, and that’s when he went out and that day that we got the protection order and bought a SKS Chinese assault rifle to kill her.”

In June 2004 Beck shot Christen at least 12 times at close range with military-grade 7.62 mm bullets; leaving her body so badly mutilated that she would have to be cremated.

“He fired so many shots into her that he blew her knee cap off. He blew the insides of her uterus, her spleen and all of her female organs and used the bullets that do the most tissue damage, and they all came out of her,” Holly said.

Holly Naujoks believes tragedies such as her daughter’s killing and massacres such as Columbine, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook Elementary could have been avoided with a ban on all assault rifles.

“How many more people do you want to lose? Those were just young children, and those women that gave their lives to protect them. It’s got to stop,” Holly said. “There are too many of us parents who have lost their children or grandparents or sisters and brothers that have to live with this horror day in and day out, and it never leaves you. It never leaves you. It becomes who you are.”

More: continued here



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