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BOC proposes aides for commissioners

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

An ordinance is pending before the Clayton County Board of Commissioners, which, if approved during the next regular business meeting, would result in the hiring of two aides who would serve at the pleasure of the four district commissioners.

The first reading of Ordinance 2007-159 took place at Tuesday night's meeting. The ordinance proposes to amend the Clayton County Civil Service Act in order to create "an unclassified position within the Clayton County government" under the title of "Constituent Aide."

If approved, the board plans to hire two aides who will answer to two commissioners each. Their assignments will include handling administrative and clerical tasks, dealing with public complaints and concerns, and lightening the load of the four district commissioners.

The jobs would be non-civil service positions, thus, each could be hired, fired, or replaced at the will of the commissioners to whom they are assigned. They would not fall under the civil service protection afforded to other county employees.

"It's just a person to do administrative follow up for ... the district commissioners," said District 1 Commissioner Sonna Singleton. "What we're doing is that we are making it non-civil service, so that, let's say for instance that you have a new commissioner and they might not want the same person ... we feel it's best to make it non-civil service, which is very common for all counties."

While the job title and description vary slightly, the responsibility of the constituent aides would be similar to that of the constituent services director, a position which the board eliminated earlier this year. The constituent services director served at the pleasure of the chairman of the board and engaged in tasks that would be expected of the constituents aides.

Commissioner Wole Ralph said that the constituent aide and constituent services director are "two different things." He said they would be vital to the commissioners, who serve on a part-time basis.

"The work is so intense in Clayton County that you probably need four other people, so we are starting with two," said Ralph.

Chairman Eldrin Bell could not be reached for comment. The constituent aide position is expected to be decided at the next business meeting on Oct. 16.