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Lawrence to reconsider Harrison's resignation

By Nancy Glasscock 340-2443

MOULTON — The Lawrence County Commission will re-consider former Assistant County Administrator Karen Harrison's contract at an emergency meeting Thursday, said commission Chairman Bradley Cross.

Cross said the commission's attorney, Cecil Caine, advised the commission to call the meeting.

The commission unanimously approved Harrison's resignation at a special meeting Monday, despite Harrison's attempt to withdraw the resignation she submitted earlier this month.

Personnel policy

Cross said the commission violated the county's personnel policy, which states an employee has 14 days to withdraw a resignation. Harrison's resignation wasn't on the meeting agenda and should not have been approved Monday, Cross said.

"They accepted her resignation Monday, but that wasn't really legal because all we're supposed to discuss during a special called meeting was what was on the agenda, and that was not on the agenda," he said.

Harrison was set to become county administrator when current Administrator Linda Harville retires Oct. 1.

Harrison resigned from her position as assistant county administrator Sept. 11, two days before FBI agents searched Courthouse Annex III, seizing an apparent
bugging system from the commission office and from her office.

She said she resigned for health reasons and because the commission didn't offer her enough money for the county administrator's job.

Harrison has declined comment since the FBI investigation began and deferred questions to her Birmingham attorney, Jim Sturdivant.

Sturdivant declined to say why Harrison decided to withdraw her resignation.

Last day

Harrison's last day at work was Tuesday.

She states in a letter sent to each commissioner withdrawing her resignation that she had a "change of heart" about quitting her job, but at least one commissioner hasn't changed his mind about her resignation.

Commissioner Harold LouAllen said Wednesday he wouldn't vote to reinstate her as a county administrator.

"I was the one who made the motion to accept her resignation," he said.

LouAllen said he didn't want to comment further.

Commissioner Alma Whitlow declined comment on whether she would vote to re-hire Harrison.

Attempts to reach commissioners John Terry and Mose Jones were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Cross' stance

Cross doesn't vote at commission meetings but said he opposed the commission's approval of Harrison's resignation.

Cross said Harrison and Harville have done a "tremendous job" keeping the county's books for the past nine years.

"They're getting two different issues tangled up when they should keep them separate," he said.

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