Local News

Court Employee Accused Of Assaulting Wake County Clerk

Posted July 26, 2005 7:02 a.m. EDT

— Since she took office in 2002, Wake County Clerk of Superior Court Jan Pueschel, has had her critics -- many of them employees who have knocked heads with their boss.

On Monday, one of these situations escalated. Pueschel called authorities, alleging that a disgruntled employee assaulted her.

Shawnta Wilder-White said that her boss, Pueschel, told her last Friday that her fingernails were too long. Wilder-White cut them on Saturday and said that on Monday, Pueschel handed her a termination letter.

Wilder-White admits she tossed the letter on Pueschel's desk.

Pueschel claims the envelope hit her in the face.

"Obviously, I don't want to be in a situation where someone is venting anger at me that turns physical," Pueschel said.

Pueschel said an employee hit a panic button alerting security.

"I'm just surprised," Pueschel said. "This was not an employee we thought would do something like this."

Pueschel said she could not get into specifics because it is a personnel issue.

"I am concerned about the situation," she said. "When this kind of thing happens, people get hurt -- not physically. People do things at the spur of the moment and they end up suffering consequences that are not very nice."

Wilder-White now faces a felony assault charge, instead of a misdemeanor because Pueschel is a government official.

Pueschel is no stranger to controversy. Since she took office at the Wake County Courthouse more than two years ago, employees have complained about her stern management style.

Pueschel has said that she knows she has plenty of critics.

"Some people have disagreed with changes I've made. I saw those changes as positive and I received more positive feedback than negative, so I'm not concerned about that at all," she said.

Wilder-White is concerned because she said she has never been in trouble with the law before. For now, she said she just wants to keep a low profile and let the courts handle it. She is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 15.