Police association backs Clayton County deputies

By Tamara Boatwright

The Southern States Police Benevolent Association has filed a motion to intervene in the case of the 27 Clayton County Sheriff's Office employees in employment limbo.

A press conference concerning the 27 will be held Thursday at noon at PBA offices, 1900 Brannan Road, McDonough.

The motion claims that the terminations are in violation of the Clayton County Civil Service System which, according to PBA Staff Attorney Grady Dukes, has been in effect since the mid 60s.

Sheriff Victor Hill claims that the department does not fall under civil service even though paperwork in nearly every one of the 27's personnel files contains pages that either reference Clayton County Civil Service or correspondence that is written on Clayton County Civil Service letterhead. Hill has said that his attorneys have researched the matter and cites case law and statutes to back up his claim. Dukes says that Hill is referring to the wrong statutes and case law.

Dukes said some members of the organization were impacted by the Jan. 3 firings which piqued the interest of the PBA but, "we saw a violation of the rights of the various sheriff's department employees beyond those who have been disciplined."

"The PBA and its Clayton County Sheriff's Department members have a strong interest in the subject matter at hand. The availability of the Clayton County Civil Service System to the employees provides them directly with due process in adverse personnel actions, especially those without cause. The availability of the Clayton County Civil Service system also provides that PBA with the mechanism to represent the interest of its members before the Clayton County Civil Service Board. The PBA needs to be allowed to intervene in the case at hand to protect these interests, and to make sure these interests are adequately represented," the motion states.

There are about 5,500 PBA members throughout Georgia. It cites among its general objectives and purposes "...to promote professionalism among law enforcement officers...to represent officers and other public employees in legal, labor, legislative and political matters which affect the law enforcement profession.