Employee campaign policy still undecided

By Ed Brock

There was much sound and fury over the county's policy on employees who run for public office at Tuesday's county commission meeting that in the end signified nothing.

Commissioners once again tabled making a decision on a change in the current policy that would allow county employees who are registered civil servants to run for a county government office but would require them to take an unpaid leave of absence. The current policy requires the employee to quit.

A registered civil servant is one who is registered with the Civil Service Board.

The decision to table the decision on the policy came after heated words between Commission Chairman Crandle Bray and Georgia State Rep. Victor Hill, D-Riverdale, who is also a Clayton County police detective and a candidate in next year's election for sheriff.

In his address to the council, Hill cited at least 11 other employees he believed had run for county offices before and were told only to do so in their off hours.

"They were not asked to take a leave of absence, no policy was enforced on them and they weren't threatened to have a policy enforced on them," Hill said.

Hill said he wanted to be treated like those other employees.

Bray told Hill that the commission was trying to help him since his boss, Clayton County Police Chief Darrell Partain, had pointed out that the current policy wouldn't allow Hill to run for the office at all without quitting his police job. Bray then questioned how much time Hill's current political position took from his "critical position" with the county.

"A police detective is a critical position for us. It may not be in your mind but it is to us," Bray said.

Hill responded by saying the commission was guilty of selective enforcement.

Other commission members questioned why the law only applied to registered civil servants before voting to table a decision on the policy until the next commission meeting.