Investigation finds no criminal wrongdoing

By Ed Brock

Clayton County police have found no criminal wrong doing by county building inspector Joe Murphy.

However, the investigation into reports that Murphy knowingly inspected houses on which his own electrical contracting company worked did show that he violated the county's code of ethics.

"They found that it could have been bad judgment on my part," said Murphy, who is also the mayor of Lovejoy.

Murphy admitted that he did inspect some houses in the Cardinal Crossing subdivision near Jonesboro where he knew his company, Murphy Electronic, had been contracted to do work. But he said his son runs the day to day operations of the company.

"I assure you that I would be just as hard on my son as on everybody else," Murphy said.

Murphy, who has been with the county for almost six years, said that he hasn't heard from the county commission regarding his fate. Commission spokeswoman Suzanne Brown said Commission Chairman Crandle Bray said the commission had no comment on the case.

Murphy is currently on paid leave.

The inspector's actions may have violated the "abstention" clause of the county code, Clayton County police Capt. Jeff Turner said. That clause requires county officials to abstain from performing official acts involving a person with whom they have a relationship or interest.

The commission asked the department to investigate the possibility of fraud in Murphy's actions.

"Since there's no criminal wrong doing of course our investigation will be closed," Turner said.