When Julius Caesar divorced his wife, Pompeia, he was asked why. Supposedly he replied that Pompeia was suspected of some offense, and that the associates of public figures must not even be suspected of wrongdoing. Today we have condensed it to “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.”
Too difficult a standard? Not for some tasks. And we think election workers ought to be on the list. One of the hallmarks of a democratic society is the belief that our elections are conducted in a fair and impartial manner. And we are not saying Lee County’s are not. To the contrary, it has been many years since there have been any allegations of improprieties.
The above also does not preclude the participation of county employees in the political process.
The Lee County Employees Handbook clearly states how and under what circumstances this participation can be accomplished.
County employees may and are encouraged to participate fully and actively in the political process, except as restricted by law: Section 17-1-7 of the Code of Alabama states “No person in the employment of …..a county……shall use any state, county, or city funds, property or time, for any political activities. Any person who is in the employment of…a county….shall be on approved leave to engage in political action or the person shall be on personal time before or after work and on holidays.” County employees are restricted only in their political activities in campaigns for County office and their on–the-job political activities for any candidate for any office. The County Personnel Department will advise all employees who have questions concerning their rights and applicable restrictions. No employee shall be penalized in any way for permitted political activity, or lack thereof.
The letter which is the subject of a story found elsewhere in this newspaper contains no proof that any of the prohibitions discussed in the above handbook have been violated. Until that proof is offered, no one is guilty.
We personally believe that a County Elections Manager should not be permitted to solicit funds or support for his supervisor at any time, but that is not the case under present law.