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A Roanoke County supervisor’s interest in a staff job creates problems only he can resolve.
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Roanoke County Supervisor Butch Church should withdraw his application for a job as the county’s public information officer or resign at once from the county’s governing board.
If Church persists in seeking the job, he can do his part to ensure a fair hiring process by quitting the board and removing the implicit risk of retaliation against county employees should the decision go against him.
His — or any supervisor’s — potential to do mischief in that case is quite real, especially given that the staffing decision rests ultimately with the county administrator, who is hired by and can be fired by the board of supervisors.
Church would have but one vote of five on the board. But if they so choose, supervisors can make staffers’ work lives miserable in many ways short of firing. County employees know that from his tenure as board chairman.
As a sitting board member in his fourth term as Catawba District supervisor, Church has shown appallingly poor judgment by taking on the dual role of job-seeker.
Of course, should he get the job, he would have to give up his supervisors seat. County Administrator Clay Goodman would not have to worry about possible repercussions from that quarter.
But that should not weigh even a tiny bit in a hiring decision. And Goodman will have been put in an impossible position whether it did or not.
Given the supervisor’s notable lack of professional qualifications for a public information job, suspicions would run deep that fear played some role.
Goodman doesn’t deserve such ill treatment.
If Church worked out all of these machinations beforehand, he abused the power voters have entrusted to him.
If he did not see the complications before, he surely is savvy enough to understand them now.
Only he can make them go away.
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