County Attorney Resigns as E911 Director is Suspended and Faces Possible Termination

Last Friday morning, Worth County E911 Director Kannetha Clem was asked to meet with the Board of Commissioners at 1 p.m. Though Mrs. Clem was currently out on sick leave, she  chose to be present for the meeting.
Commissioners Joe Gaines and Mack Sutton explained to Mrs. Clem that it was a “concensus of the Board” that her servies were no longer needed and cited specifically referenced a post on her personal facebook page as well as her “overall general attitude”. Clem refused to resign, so she was suspended with pay until the Board could meet for a vote.
A few weeks ago when Commissioner Gaines and Chairman Cosby voted to hire two employees for the Public Works Department, Clem posted on her personal facebook page her displeasure with their action. As for the reference to her general attitude, when asked for examples, Gaines and Sutton were unable to provide any and dismissed the meeting.
The Sylvester Local reached out to the commissioners for comment. Commissioner Gaines stated they did in fact offer her a chance to resign due to her actions and she chose not to. He also affirmed she had the right to refuse, so they (Gaines and Sutton) suspended her indefinitely until the Board could vote on termination. When asked the reason behind his decision, he stated “some of the reasons were because of the facebook comments but the others I cannot discuss because it’s personnel issues.”
Commissioner Mack Sutton was also contacted, but chose not to respond. Commissioner Billy McDonald was at the courthouse at the time of the meeting, but was unable to be a part of the meeting, because had three or more commissioners been present, it would have been considered a Called Board Meeting.  However, he did comment stating he felt the punishment was wrong. According to McDonald, while he did agree Clem should not have posted her opinions on her facebook page because of the title she holds, she should not be terminated because it is her freedom to speak as she feels.
The Board of Commissioners have scheduled a Called Meeting for tomorrow, Tuesday September 24, 2013 at 1 p.m. to discuss “County Financial Issues” and “Personnel Issues”.
In a letter dated Monday, September 23, 2013, the county’s attorney Clarence Miller submitted his official letter of resignation stating, “While I have generally enjoyed my tenure as the county attorney and feel that I have performed adequately, nevertheless, conditions have arisen that cause me to withdraw. Some commissioners (an apparent majority) have taken actions and expressed opinions which demonstrate the egos of self-important politicians more than good governance. When the given the opportunity to correct an honest mistake on hiring, you ignore the opportunity and insist that your mistake was correct. Your conduct with respect to 911 is deplorable, without precedent and manifests a personal intent. These issues should arouse some concern on your part for incurring liability against the County and against individual commissioners.”

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