The Wilson Times

Saturday, February 02, 2013 12:46 AM

Wilson County jail administrator demoted
Sheriff tight-lipped on change at county detention center

By Corey Friedman | Times Online Editor

Sheriff Calvin Woodard won’t say why he demoted the Wilson County Detention Center’s top jailer this month.

Willie Lucas received a $13,000 pay cut effective Jan. 1, according to county personnel records. Through his spokeswoman, the sheriff said he would not provide a reason for the administrative change.

"He’s declining to comment on it,” sheriff’s Chief of Staff Wanda Samuel said Friday. Woodard did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Lucas earned $53,952 as a captain in the sheriff’s office and detention center administrator, according to records provided by Assistant County Manager Denise Stinagle. On Jan. 1, his job title changed to Detention Officer Level I and his salary fell to $40,764.

Samuel said the sheriff would not say who he appointed to replace Lucas as jail administrator. Capt. Tony Hardy is now believed to be in charge of the jail.

Hardy previously worked in the sheriff’s Professional Standards Division, which investigates internal affairs.

As of Friday afternoon, Lucas still was listed as jail administrator on the Wilson County government website’s detention center page.

Lucas owns and operates day care centers in Wilson and Rocky Mount that abruptly closed their doors in November. It’s not clear whether the business closures were related to Lucas’s demotion at the sheriff’s office.

Parents arrived at JSL Development Center on Pender Street Nov. 30 to find that the center had closed. They complained that staff failed to notify them in advance so that they could make other child care arrangements.

Both JSL locations received superior ratings in recent state inspections, but regulators have investigated several complaints over the past three years. The N.C. Division of Child Development and Early Education ruled some complaints unfounded, but it upheld several others, including electrical problems, no proof of insurance for JSL vehicles and failure to conduct criminal background checks every three years.

Regulators said each violation had been corrected.

Child care centers aren’t required to notify state officials when they close down, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. | 265-7821

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