CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- I don't quite know what to make of this. I think it's news but I don't know whether it's small news or bigger news. Maybe you will e-mail me directly and enlighten me.
I've been able to confirm that the managers in Mecklenburg County's Youth and Family Services Division, which includes Child Protective Services, are no longer reporting to the Director of the Department of Social Services, Mary Wilson, but instead are reporting to the County's General Manager Michelle Lancaster.
Lancaster would only send a brief statement through a spokesman: "This was a personnel decision to better serve the residents of Mecklenburg County."
I spoke earlier this week with three County Commissioners, Chairman Harold Cogdell, former Chairwoman Jennifer Roberts and Commissioner Bill James. All three told me that the County Manager's office had alerted them to the change in reporting but only told them the realignment was the result of a "personnel issue."
That nebulous phrase is the source of my confusion. "Personnel issue" can mean anything from a personal dispute between two managers to false charges to outright wrongdoing. By making a management reporting change without explaining why, it makes an investigative reporter more curious.
Commissioners Roberts and James say they don't know what the issue is. Chairman Cogdell would only say it is "premature to comment on the realignment of YFS" and the change may be temporary or it may be permanent.
Commissioner Roberts said, "It may be nothing."
But if you've paid attention to Mecklenburg County government for any length of time, you may recall that the former head of YFS won a lawsuit for being wrongfully fired in 2001 for trying to expose a sexual harassment cover-up.
Then there's the social worker who went to federal prison last year for embezzling from the foster children's gift fund. Not to mention our reporting in years past of politically-charged hirings and appointments.
So if you know what's behind the latest "personnel issue" or the management reporting change, drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can leave a confidential message at 704-329-3743.