Huff, Johnson Wait

Brad Huff, left, and Jody Johnson wait during an executive session of the Walton County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night, July 12, 2016. Huff is the county's athletics division director, and Johnson is the parks and recreation director. They own JB Athletics.

MONROE, Ga. — County personnel officials began the process Thursday of carrying out the suspensions of two parks and recreation employees.

The Board of Commissioners voted to suspend Parks and Recreation Department Director Jody Johnson and the manager of the department’s athletics division, Brad Huff.

Commissioners voted unanimously to issue a notice of proposed adverse action for Huff’s termination, and for a 60-day suspension without pay for Johnson.

Both will be on administrative leave with pay during a 15-day notice period.

Karen Fraser, the county’s human resources director, explained the process Thursday.

Fraser said a notice of adverse action can be issued for any county employee facing termination, a suspension or demotion.

“It’s a proposed disciplinary action,” she said. “It’s written with, let’s say, today’s date and then there’s a notification period which is 15 days from the date of the notice. So, there’s 15 days in there that the employee is put on notice that this proposed adverse action is going to take place.”

The process is the same for any county employee, although not all would go before the Board of Commissioners. Fraser said most senior managers and department heads report through the chairman of the board.

The chairman since 2001 has been Kevin Little, who voted last night to break a tie on a measure to suspend Johnson.

That came after a 3-3 vote to issue a proposed adverse action for termination of Johnson’s employment. Commissioners Mark Banks, Lee Bradford and Bo Warren voted for the proposal, while Vice Chairman Timmy Shelnutt and Commissioners Dr. Jeremy Adams and Kirklyn Dixon opposed it.

Adams, Dixon and Shelnutt then voted for the proposed 60-day suspension, with Banks, Bradford and Warren against it.

Little broke the tie by joining Adams, Dixon and Shelnutt.

County officials have refused to discuss their reasoning for the actions against Johnson and Huff. Both men declined to comment Wednesday night.

The measures passed for both Johnson and Huff call for the Human Resources Department “to select an appropriate appointing authority for purposes of the Civil Service Plan.”

Fraser said appointing authorities include “basically any elected official, constitutional or statutory officers that are here in the county,” including the clerk of Superior Courts, coroner, district attorney, juvenile judge, magistrate judge, probate judge, sheriff, tax commissioner or one of the Superior Court judges.

“One person will act as the appointing authority for the proposed adverse action,” Fraser said. “If a person wanted to appeal the adverse action, they would have to do so to the appointing authority.”

The appointing authority is named in the letter given to the employee in question.

Fraser said the letters for Johnson and Huff were being drafted Thursday.

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