Town Manger Greg McGinnis was forthright about the incident when contacted Wednesday, but town officials remain tight-lipped citing prohibitions of state law against commenting on personnel matters.
According to a report filed by North Carolina Highway Patrolman Will Miller, McGinnis, 49, was involved in an accident on Golf Course Road at 6:05 a.m. on Tuesday and left the scene. The incident was alleged to have taken place a short distance from McGinnis’s residence, which is at 182 19th Hole Drive in West Jefferson.
When authorities encountered McGinnis, he was said to have had “blood shot eyes, a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, slurred/mumbled speech, and was very unsteady on his feet,” Miller outlined in the report.
At 7:40 a.m., the trooper requested McGinnis to submit a blood sample for a chemical analysis, the report stated. McGinnis was officially charged with driving while impaired, hit/run failure to stop to property damage, and carrying a concealed weapon.
Ashe County Jail’s Sharon Price confirmed that McGinnis arrived and the report said he was released on a $1,000 secured bond Tuesday.
During a Wednesday telephone interview with the Post, McGinnis expressed remorse for his actions and said that he had been in contact with town officials including Mayor Dale Hudler.
“I just made a huge mistake,” McGinnis said. “I drank too much and got caught. I’ve been in recovery for two and a half years and relapsed and that’s what happens.”
McGinnis said that while driving on Golf Course Road that he ran off the road and “got my car stuck in the grass.” He also stated that he had a “friend” who picked him up from the scene and stayed at that person’s residence until the authorities arrived.
McGinnis explained that he had talked with Hudler on Wednesday and was told it was not necessary for him to return to work on Thursday although McGinnis said that he would.
The mayor would not confirm or deny any pending action against McGinnis by town officials.
“I’m not saying anything. It’s a personnel issue,” Hudler said.
McGinnis was appointed town manager of West Jefferson in December 2006 and had served as a city manager for Kings Mountain, town manager for Boiling Springs and Vinalhaven, ME, assistant city manager of Kannapolis, and budget analyst and management intern for Charlotte. In April 2009, McGinnis received the Credentialed Manager designation from the International City and County Manager’s Association, the premier local government leadership and management organization.
An official action by the West Jefferson Town Board of Aldermen has not been made as of Wednesday evening. Several attempts to reach board members were unsuccessful. Continue to follow the Jefferson Post and www.jeffersonpost.com for additional updates.
McGinnis is scheduled to appear in court to face the listed charges on July 29 at 9 a.m. at the Ashe County Courthouse.