An administrative law judge in High Point will rule against a former state prison health care official, who claimed he was fired because he tried to report the theft or misuse of state property.
Judge J. Randall May notified attorneys on Friday that Joe Vincoli’s case would be denied based on the state’s defense that as a manager he was exempt from the state personnel law and could be fired at will.
Vincoli’s attorney, Michael C. Byrne of Raleigh, anticipated that ruling and is prepared to file a whistleblower lawsuit in superior court. Vincoli said Friday that will be the next step.
Vincoli worked for the state Department of Public Safety until he was fired in December. He contends it was because of his long-running and persistent efforts to report to his superiors alleged misuse of State Health Plan money involving Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, where he used to work.
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DPS officials repeatedly told Vincoli not to get involved in that issue on state time, because it had nothing to do with the department. Byrne argued that state law requires employees report any misuse of state money that they know about, regardless of what department it’s in.
Vincoli, who lives in Forsyth County, saved the state millions of dollars by pointing out examples of wasteful spending and lax oversight.
State law was even changed because of his efforts, extending protection to anyone alleging wrongdoing involving the State Health Plan.