The Jackson County Commissioners are once again in the position of advertising for a county administrator. Hours before the commissioners were due to turn their rankings in from the four candidates interviewed, county attorney Michelle Jordan advised the board of a glitch in the interviews. Jordan said she had been made aware of a situation where information was provided to the commissioners with potentially negative to one of the candidates.
In an email to the board of commissioners, Jordan said, “While there is nothing inherently inappropriate about conducting a social media background search – in fact, I would never hire a candidate personally without one – my concerns are that social media use in the hiring process is a developing area of the law, and in this circumstance, I have no ability to defend the County against potential liability because the County has no policy or procedure to follow for this kind of background check. There is simply no way for me to know whether the County followed even its own rules, much less Federal and State anti-discrimination laws.”
The situation arose when it was disclosed that Commissioner Jim Peacock made a statement to Human Resource Director Lenneta Green and the IT department that at the very least, a social media check needed to be done on the candidates for consideration. In an interview with the TIMES, Peacock said, “I just thought that was public information and at the very least it would tell us something about the candidates that we were looking to interview. I actually mentioned it to Lennetta and one of the IT guys and she placed a copy of something that was found on one of the interviewees in our folder. As you heard in the meeting today, she did not single out one individual but ran social media checks on all five, even though one did not interview.”
A motion was made by Commissioner Willie Spires, seconded by Clint Pate and passed unanimously to re-advertise the position of county administrator. Those who have applied previously will have to re-apply to be considered for the job.