Former Director of Social Services Manager files appeal

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - After being fired in what she called a "sudden" and "questionable" termination earlier this month, Mecklenburg County's former DSS director filed an appeal Tuesday afternoon.

Problems have surrounded Mary Wilson and the Department of Social Services for years.

Eyewitness News obtained emails between Wilson and County Manager Harry Jones just days before her Sept. 4 termination.

The emails, dated Aug. 29 and Aug. 30, hint at some kind of decision that Jones was asking Wilson to make.

Eyewitness News asked county officials if Jones wanted Wilson to step down, but they said they didn't know.

In the first in the series of emails dated Aug. 29th, Wilson tells Jones she doesn't have "sufficient information to make a decision by 5pm" and suggests talking about a "transition period."

Jones asks her to meet him at 6:30 p.m. in his office.

Then he emails her again at 7:10 p.m. saying she didn't show up and didn't respond to his "email, text messages, or voicemails."

Wilson responds the next day, saying she had an appointment, then Bible study, and had her phones off.

The emails end after they agree to meet later that morning.

Many have said Wilson gave political favors, including hiring Mayor Anthony Foxx's wife.

On her watch, DSS also couldn't account for more than $100,000 involving a program for needy children.

The county said the next step is an employee review panel hearing the case.

Danny Diehl, Mecklenburg County's Director of Public Information, said the panel will hear from Wilson as well as the county and give a recommendation to Jones, who will make the final decision on whether to reinstate her.

Wilson sent a letter to County Commissioners on Sept. 14, saying the proper disciplinary process wasn't followed for her termination.
She also said that when she requested a copy of her personnel file from the Human Resources Department, "documents which are favorable to me are missing."

Eyewitness News requested a copy of Wilson's appeal letter, but county officials said it's part of personnel file and private.