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Charlotte Area News

County Commission Consider Harassment Policy For Board

Mecklenburg County has a harassment policy when it comes to employees. But not when the complaint is against a member of the county commission. Commissioners will consider such a policy at Tuesday's board meeting. The City of Charlotte got in a bind last year when an employee accused city councilman Warren Turner of sexual harassment. The city had a harassment policy for employees, but not for elected officials. So no one was sure how to deal with it. That caused the county to take a look at its own harassment policies. Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Roberts says the county is also lacking a policy. "We wanted to fill in that gap and provide a process so that when a commissioner or an appointed member of the board is involved, there's a process to follow," says Roberts. The policy commissioners will consider tonight says the board won't tolerate harassment of county employees by members of the board. If an employee has a complaint, he or she should tell a supervisor who, in turn, would notify Human Resources and the County Manager. That complaint could prompt an investigation if the employee wants to lodge a formal complaint or if the County Manager thinks it should be investigated. Once those results come back, the board could choose to censure the commissioner, but couldn't remove him or her from the board. If the employee doesn't want to lodge a formal complaint, the County Manager and chair or vice-chair would discuss any appropriate behavior corrections with the commissioner. The city now has a similar policy. County commissioners will also consider a policy regarding the County Manager's authority when it comes to settlements. Earlier this year, commissioners questioned County Manager Harry Jones' approval of a $60,000 settlement with former Mental Health Director Grayce Crockett. The board will consider a policy tonight that allows the manager to negotiate resignations up to half of the employee's total annual compensation. Anything higher than that would have to get board approval.