Jones addresses ethics questions

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

Before the Dallas County Commission got to any new business items Monday, former Probate Judge Johnny Jones Jr. addressed a lingering matter of concern.

Jones made public comments regarding the letter District 4 Commissioner Clifford Hunter sent to the State of Alabama Ethics Commission in April.

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In the letter, Hunter questioned practices of the commission in the last four years.

After a verbal exchange that nearly became more volatile, Hunter asked why Jones didn&8217;t call him before the meeting to clear up the matter.

Of the six items in Hunter&8217;s letter, Jones specifically addressed the first two &8212; the commission&8217;s compliance with the Omnibus Pay Act and the ethicality of a public official vacating office and immediately receiving an appointment to a paid board.

Hunter questioned in his letter if it was ethical for commissioners, the probate judge, tax assessor and tax collector to receive pay raises while other county employees did not.

Jones said there was so much confusion about the act that state legislators held several meetings to amend it. Since its amendment, Jones said the commission had acted in compliance.

Jones stepped down as probate judge last year and currently serves on the Craig Airport Authority board.

Jones said the timing of Hunter&8217;s letter had the appearances of a political ploy.

The two exchanged what appeared to be sarcastic comments before Jones stepped down.