Change the rules of engagement

Now that this whole sordid affair is (hopefully) behind us, I’m taking the lead of some sage advice.  I’ll make an heroic effort in this space to avoid the tempatation of getting on a big self-righteous tirade about how unfair and uncouth the Democratic County Commissioners have been to tax director Jenks Crayton.  If you don’t mind an understatement, the whole matter could have been handled a whole lot better. 

Our County Commissioner’s should always investigate what they believe to be wrong doing on the part of any County employee in any department.  That is both their right and duty as elected officials.  But there are two ways to initiate and carry out an investigation: the right way – and the wrong way. 

Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Bruce Davis, we have now witnessed a great example of how such investigations should not be done.  In the aftermath of such a fine example of bad leadership, our Board of Commissioners should now turn their attention to ways to avoid such embarrassments, muck-raking and bad feelings in the future.  Here are Mr. Sun’s suggestions for Rules-of-the-Board reform as posted in the comments at Allen Johnson’s place…

  • The Board and its members shall not publicly comment on personnel matters. Public comment by Board members on personnel matters are subject to censure.
  • The Board shall adopt written criteria governing when it makes recommendations for employee investigations. Those criteria shall include a due process component.
  • The Board shall consider only complaints submitted through a formal process with verification. The records must be kept, but may be withheld from media under personnel laws.

County employees with legitimate concerns about how well our government is or is not working should have the freedom and empowerment to voice those concerns.  Furthermore, those same employees should feel confident their concerns will be heard by the people who can initiate reform to the betterment of the people’s business.  But… there should be no place in Guilford County government for he said/she said innuendo such as what Mr. Crayton has recently endured.

Unless some changes are made in how such investigations are channeled in the future, we have a snowball’s chance of attracting and hiring the best qualified people to work in County government.  If such spectacles as we have just been through are allowed to become the accepted proceedure for handling personel issues, no one in their right mind will ever want to work for the bunch of yahoos we habitually elect to lead us.  (oops… I slipped).

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