Change is coming to the Forsyth County Clerk of Superior Court’s office.
A state House bill authored by District 24 state Rep. Mike Dudgeon would remove two of the office’s top staff members from the county’s civil service system.
“It’s better management of the office that way,” said Clerk of Court Greg Allen. “They’re no longer under the civil service umbrella ... I’d have more direct control.”
The two positions that would be changed are the chief deputy clerk and office manager, which is vacant.
The local legislation is likely to pass easily through both the House and Senate, said Dudgeon, a Republican from south Forsyth.
“All the commissioners said they’re OK with it, and all of our delegation is OK with it, and since we have unanimous support, we’re moving forward with the process,” Dudgeon said.
“I think all the delegation believes to let these local folks run these departments how they see fit.”
The deputy clerk position is being held by Dean Gravitt, who Allen said is “in full agreement” with the change.
Though it requires state approval, removing the two positions from the civil service system is a minor adjustment, said County Attorney Ken Jarrard.
“If you’re out of civil service, you lose the civil service appellate protections,” he said. “That would mean if you have any adverse discipline or employment action taken against you, you’ll be without a recourse, at least administrative.
“You’d still have your legal rights under the court system.”
Currently, if a civil service employee is terminated or if disciplinary action is taken against them, they can appeal the decision to the civil service board.
Without that protection, the employees are granted only the rights under state and federal employment laws.
While the change would make the process easier, Allen said it’s more about following the same rules as departments in surrounding counties.
“I’m one of the few clerk offices in the state that actually has my employees under civil service,” Allen said.
“The probate judge’s office is not under civil service. The sheriff, either his top six or eight higher-level management officers are not under civil service. So it’s just kind of going along with what they do.”