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Mom gets government job back after firing over gun charge that was eventually dropped

New Hampshire Union Leader

November 21. 2017 4:22PM

Alycia Neely in her Manchester apartment last week with her son, R.J. Afuola, 13, and daughter Noelanni Hunter, 6. (MARK HAYWARD/File)

MANCHESTER — The city mom fired from her youth counselor job after police discovered a loaded handgun in her car during a traffic stop has been rehired just before the holidays, though she will not be able to recoup her lost pay.

Alycia Neely said she heard Tuesday from her supervisor at Sununu Youth Services Center, the man who fired her. He asked when she could return to her part-time job as a counselor.

Neely, 31, said she is happy to get her job back, but the ordeal has been bittersweet. She has spoken to Police Chief Nick Willard, an assistant attorney general and her boss, Brady Serafin, but no one has taken responsibility for the emotional tumult she experienced.

"Nobody said, ‘I'm sorry this ever happened to you. It never should have happened,'" Neely said.

Neely was pulled over Oct. 21 in Manchester with a car full of children. She was taking them to a cheer event, and a 7-year-old was in the front seat. She was charged with child endangerment after telling police she had a loaded handgun in her glovebox.

She has said she was the past victim of domestic abuse and has vowed never to let a man hurt her or her kids again.

Two weeks after the arrest, Willard told Neely he was dropping the charges and wished her the best. But she had already been fired. She has said that her boss told her she had embarrassed the Sununu Center.

Once the word got out, several firearms advocates came to her defense, and Gov. Chris Sununu asked Attorney General Gordon MacDonald to look into the matter.

Neely said she could get her job back only if she signed papers agreeing not to sue and to forgo her lost pay.

"Common sense has prevailed in New Hampshire," Gov. Sununu said. "On my instruction, the Attorney General's Office reviewed this matter. Upon conclusion of that review, the decision was made to reinstate Ms. Neely to her prior position. I thank Attorney General MacDonald and all those who advocated on Ms. Neely's behalf. "I am pleased that we were able to do the right thing, for Ms. Neely and her children, on the cusp of this holiday season," Sununu said.

Neely said she's most grateful to Executive Councilor David Wheeler, R-Milford; Rick Olson, who started a fundraiser that raised $3,600 on her behalf; and state Rep. J.R. Hoell, R-Dunbarton, who dropped off some money for her and helped her with her resume.

"I can't thank them enough for being there," she said.

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