Quick hire of Foxx's wife gets closer look
In July, the Mecklenburg County Department of Social services had a hiring freeze. DSS Director Mary Wilson posted a job anyway to oversee the department's business affairs division. After the job was only posted one day, she hired Samara Foxx at a salary of $100,000. Foxx is the wife of councilman and mayoral candidate Anthony Foxx. The Charlotte Observer and WCNC-TV first reported how Foxx came to be hired.
County Manager Harry Jones told the newspaper it's unusual for a job to be posted for such a short time, but it's been done before. WFAE asked the county to give examples. Public Information Officer Danny Diehl said it will take a week to get that information. County Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Roberts says she was surprised to hear the job was posted for only a day. "If you are entrusted with taxpayer funds that you owe it to the taxpayers to get the best person possible for that job. Generally, you can't do that if your job opening only lasts a day," says Roberts.
The County's Danny Diehl referred WFAE to personnel policy that does not say how long a job should be publicly posted. That's in contrast with the City of Charlotte. Spokesman Keith Richardson says all vacancies must remain up for at least a week. "It gives us the opportunity to cast a wider net and put it out to as many people as possible," explains Richardson.
Wake County requires its job notices to be posted for five business days. DSS Director Mary Wilson couldn't be reached for comment. In a written response, Samara Foxx charges that the criticism of her hiring is an attempt to smear her and her husband. She says she's qualified for the job because of her law degree and five years as staff counsel to a congressional committee.
Further, Foxx says she and Wilson had a working relationship at a private company before her husband ran for city council. Anthony Foxx also released a statement. He said he will not allow what he calls "gratuitous assaults" on his wife to go unanswered.