Chief Porter returns to work

Chief Greg Porter

Chief Greg Porter

JONESBORO — Clayton County police Chief Greg Porter has returned to work following a seven-week unpaid administrative leave.

Porter confirmed Wednesday to Clayton News Daily that he has returned to work but didn’t provide details. His attorney, Manny Arora, concurred but also didn’t elaborate.

“It is our understanding that Chief Porter has been reinstated and is back at work,” he said.

Clayton County Commission Chairman Jeff Turner also confirmed that Porter is back on the job “but still under investigation.”

Porter has been under investigation for more than a year for alleged wrongdoing involving a $36,000 grant used in his consulting firms, Eagle Eye and Busy Body. He and his brother, co-owner Robert Porter, were hired in 2009 to provide off-duty law enforcement officers for home surveillance on Clayton County State Court DUI probationers.

In June 2012, Clayton County Court Administrator Matt Sorensen said he and State Court Judge Linda S. Cowen discovered a discrepancy in the way Porter was paid in 2009 but Sorensen declined to be more specific, citing the ongoing investigation.

Arora has previously said that Porter is innocent and that the accusation is the result of a misunderstanding.

Chuck Spahos, executive director of Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, said Porter has not been cleared.

“There is still a pending investigation,” said Spahos. “We’re waiting on further information.”

Spahos said he was unaware that Porter was placed on leave until after the fact.

“They did that all independent of anything we’ve got going,” he said.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Sherry Lang said agents are still working the investigation.

“We’re hoping to have it over to the district attorney’s office soon,” she said. “In weeks, rather than months.”

In fact, Porter was placed on leave July 15 after Clayton County Senior Services Director Mary Byrd was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into alleged mishandling of a county bank account. Byrd was arrested July 19 on 13 counts of fourth-degree forgery and one count of bribery, and has since quit her position.

Turner said in July that a county commissioner who was on the board before Turner was elected wanted to know why there was an inconsistency in the treatment of the two department heads.

Turner, who is a former Clayton County police chief, said he agreed. Porter previously worked under him as a deputy chief.

“We owe it to our employees to be fair and consistent,” he said in July.

In recent weeks, some residents have appealed to commissioners to take Porter off leave while pledging their support for him. A couple of residents went so far as to circulate petitions to get Porter back to work.

Porter was appointed chief in September 2010 after Turner was forced out in December 2009. Accused of mismanaging the department by then-Clayton County Chief of Staff Alex Cohilas, a DeKalb County District Attorney-led investigation cleared Turner of any criminal wrongdoing.