As of Thursday, July 5, 2012
© Copyright 2013
Clayton News Daily
JONESBORO — The Clayton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously this week to lift a 15-month hiring freeze that kept the county from hiring new employees without the board’s approval.
Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell said he asked his fellow commissioners to lift the hiring freeze because it was regularly overlooked. The Commission created the hiring freeze through a resolution passed March 1, 2011.
The Commission approved several requests from Human Resources Director Renee Bright to fill positions since then, even voting to create and fill a county manager after the freeze was implemented. Sixty new positions in the sheriff’s office were also created earlier this year.
“It’s been there for a while and most of the time, every request she made was brought out here and voted upon,” Bell said. “If you’re not going to have a hiring freeze then we don’t need the resolution. Therefore, the human resources director does not need to come out [for permission].”
The hiring freeze was created last year because the county was expecting an $8.5 million budget shortfall for fiscal year 2012. Bell said at the time that employees accounted for 60 percent of the county’s expenses.
Even when the freeze was approved, Bell was critical of it.
“I think we approved this hiring freeze too hastily,” he told the Clayton News Daily at the time.
The county still faced a budget shortfall three months later when the Commission narrowly approved the new budget. A controversial 34 percent property tax increase was implemented to cover the shortfall.