Exeter Ambulance Company launching internal probe into missed paychecks

By Joe Dolinsky - jdolinsky@timesleader.com | September 15th, 2015 7:12 pm

EXETER — A borough organization is again the subject of a probe into the state of its finances, though this latest investigation is staying in house.

An Exeter Community Ambulance employee on Tuesday confirmed more than a half dozen members have yet to receive their last two weeks pay, prompting some to quit, others to stop showing up and ambulance service on Saturday to be cut entirely.

Reached for comment Tuesday afternoon, Ralph Dixon, ambulance company chief, said an “internal investigation” had been launched by the organization’s president, Richard McNeil. Dixon said little else, refusing further comment and stating that he was told not to disclose McNeil’s phone number.

Asked to provide an idea of when employees might get paid, Dixon said he had “no idea. I’m just a worker here.”

The ambulance company’s vice president, and McNeil’s nephew, Thomas McNeil Jr., is the husband of Stephanie McNeil, former treasurer of Exeter Hose Company No. 1. Ousted from her position late last year, Stephanie McNeil has been identified as being at the center of an investigation into alleged financial irregularities at the fire company.

Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said Tuesday her office was not investigating the ambulance company and was unaware of any allegations regarding missing paychecks there.

In the interim, a small group of “dedicated” employees have continued to report to the ambulance company while other area communities have chipped in to provide coverage while service was suspended, said the employee, who spoke to the Times Leader Tuesday but requested anonymity.

“We’re waiting to see what happens,” the employee said, noting that some are dealing with the strife better than others. “It wears you thin because you’re working 60 to 80 hours a week on one truck when you’re not guaranteed a paycheck.”

The employee said the organization’s treasurer, Richard Turner, vice chairman of borough council, had visited employees to “apologize” for the issue, but said of Turner’s efforts: “There’s only so much one person can do in a battle against the world at this point.

Multiple messages left Tuesday for Turner were not returned.


By Joe Dolinsky


Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL