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Morgan HR director's status made permanent

By Sheryl Marsh 340-2437

The Morgan County Commission made human resources director Terry Naccarato a permanent employee after learning of his stand against purported illegal hirings.

The questionable hirings were in the Sheriff's Department.

Naccarato, who has been director since July, was to be on probation for six months.

District 4 Commissioner Stacy George and District 2 Commissioner Ken Livingston voted Tuesday to end that probation and give Naccarato permanent status.

Before voting, however, the two commissioners faced obstacles.

George and Livingston asked that an item be added to the meeting agenda regarding Naccarato's employment.

District 3 Commissioner Kevin Murphy questioned whether it would be fair to other employees.

George said Naccarato's position shouldn't have had a probationary period because it is a departmental, professional job.

George explained why the action was being taken.

"Terry's got to make decisions that are not politically correct, and he needs to be free to do his job," said George.

Livingston said he agreed.

"Terry is doing what he should be doing," said Livingston, "and I think he's doing a good job."

Then other obstacles arose during the meeting following the work session.

District 1 Commissioner Jeff Clark was absent, and Murphy wanted to table the matter until Clark could be present. His motion died for lack of a second.

County attorney Bill Shinn told the commission that it would take a unanimous vote of the commissioners present to put the item on the agenda.

The three commissioners gave that approval.

George and Livingston voted to take Naccarato off probation. Murphy voted no.

George voted against adding employees to the payroll Tuesday, and after the meeting he explained why.

'Illegally hired'

"There are two on there that were illegally hired," George told Chairman John Glasscock.

"There were? Who?" Glasscock asked.

George showed him two names on the agenda. One is to work in administration at the jail and the other is to work in jail maintenance.

Glasscock asked George how he knew that, and George said Naccarato sent him and the other commissioners a letter about the hirings.

The letter George received from Naccarato is dated Sept. 16, and it is to Glasscock and copied to all commissioners.

It reads: "I recently stopped the hiring process for the above stated positions after learning about the discriminatory practices that were occurring," Naccarato wrote. "The Morgan County EEO Policy, the Morgan County HR hiring process and the EEOC hiring guidelines were all violated as a result of illegal hiring practices.

"John Glasscock, Syble Atkins, (Sheriff) Greg Bartlett and I all have agreed that it was illegal, yet John and Greg are in agreement to proceed with the hirings anyway. HR director has made management aware of the violation of the above stated laws and policies and has made clear that it does not support or condone this kind of blatant hiring discrimination."

George said the commission action is not a strike against the sheriff.

"It's not about the sheriff or anybody else," said George. "We need to abide by the law and that's what we hired Terry to do, help us with keeping hiring practices legal."

George said the situation with the hirings broke U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines and county rules and regulations.

"I'm told that they broke our own hiring process and did not give equal employment access to all the applicants," George said.

Atkins, county administrator, said she and Glasscock did not agree that Bartlett's hirings were illegal.

"We didn't agree that it was illegal but we agreed that he had gone too far," said Atkins. "As I understand it he (Bartlett) had made his decisions and told the people. We all agreed that it was something that was done. It may be incorrect but it's done. I think that's the position John took."

Glasscock said Bartlett ended up hiring someone internally.

"This was worked out weeks ago," Glasscock said. "It kind of got muddled up, and we expect everything to be according to policy in the future, and I don't expect it to happen again."

Before leaving the commission office Tuesday, George told Atkins and Glasscock that they were not to retaliate against Naccarato because of the commission's action.

"He (Naccarato) does not work for you and does not answer to you," George told Atkins. "He works for the entire commission. I don't want you or John trying to get at him because of what we did to give him permanent position. Take it out on me."

Bartlett did not immediately return phone calls for comment.

Naccarato once taught human resource classes at universities and authored a book on the subject.

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