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Sheriff Hill wants to fire employee again

By Justin Boron

Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill says one of the 27 employees who a judge ruled he fired illegally on Jan. 3 is back on the chopping block.

At a press conference Wednesday intended to downplay an assertion that the embattled sheriff is seeking an African-American judge instead of a white judge in the federal discrimination case pending against him, Hill said he has asked U.S. District Charles A. Moye for permission to dismiss Lt. Leontyne Daniel.

A consent order agreed upon by both sides in the federal case requires Hill to petition the judge before he takes personnel action on employees above the rank of correctional officers.

Hill said he gave 72 hour notice to seek Daniel's termination and put her on paid leave after she was insubordinate and gave false information about her assignment to a courtroom last week.

The incident last Tuesday stemmed from Daniel's presence in a hearing to remove from litigation the judge who found Hill in contempt of court and ruled against him on the question of whether sheriff employees are protected from dismissal without just cause.

Harlan Miller, Daniel's attorney, said his client was following procedure when she stood guard over the courtroom.

Hill said her adherence to policy was not the problem. It was her lying about being assigned to the courtroom and her abusive behavior to supervisors that prompted the action, he said.

All of the recent attacks, Miller says, are a move by Hill to rehabilitate his standing with the public.

"Sheriff Hill has today embarked on a public relations campaign to refurbish his image. He would be better off doing his job. Anyone able to count would be able to see that it was Hill's continued illegal conduct that has made it necessary to file additional claims, not racial bias or judge shopping," Miller said in an e-mailed news release Wednesday.

Hill also said he asked Moye for permission to give some of his staff pay raises. Several of them are staff brought in by Hill when he took office.

According to a proposed order in the federal case, Hill has asked for raises and promotions for the following:

é Correctional Officer Frank Etheridge $28,477 to $45,093

é Chief Deputy William T. Cassells $66,277 to $70,524

é Correctional Officer Reginald Lindsay $28,477 to $45,093

Lindsay provided security for Hill during campaign.

é Correctional Officer Timothy Hanner $36,965 to $45,093

é Correctional Officer Mark Harris $28,477 to $45,093

Harris is the former police chief of Jonesboro.

é Correctional Officer Jon Antoine $42,907 to $49,805

Antoine is handling internal affairs for the Sheriff's Office.