Memo: Former DSS director had questions about critical division in agency

by: Mark Becker Updated:

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MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. —

The former director of Mecklenburg County's Department of Social Services had serious questions about one of the most critical divisions in that agency eight months ago and shared her concerns with Mecklenburg County's general manager.

That is revealed in a long email memo obtained by WSOC-TV.

Mary Wilson was fired as DSS director in September, and County Manager Harry Jones has not said why.

But WSOC-TV asked for Wilson's email correspondences and received a copy of those emails over a six-month period ending in June.

One of those is a memo she sent to General Manager Michelle Lancaster in February.

In the memo dated Feb. 14, Wilson raised serious questions about the performance of Youth and Family Services -- the part of the agency responsible for child welfare.

Wilson said the YFS leadership wasn't working as a team and that it doesn't have a sustainable way of keeping up with changes in the field.

The memo includes a state report from 2011 in which investigators found that Youth and Family Services was not in substantial conformity in several critical areas of child safety.

And they had listed examples:

Episodes of domestic violence between a teen mother and her babies' father involving a gun that had not been assessed by case workers.

A case in which a child had reported he'd started drinking at 9 and who was then 16 but still didn't have any treatment.

Or a case in which children who had been referred for domestic violence counseling didn't get it for 11 months.

Wilson was also complimentary of YFS and its director, Paul Risk, saying that he was showing improvement in that position.  She also said that the division was putting the right people in positions and things were "getting done."

Wilson has appealed her firing and county officials say they can't comment on her memo until all of that is settled and that could take months.

WSOC tried to reach Wilson, but she did not respond to our email.