Probate judge requests formal apology from commissioner

LaGRANGE – There was no apology Tuesday at the Troup County Board of Commissioners.

Troup County Probate Judge Donald Boyd asked Tuesday that Troup County Commissioner Richard English, District 5, make a public apology for remarks made at an earlier meeting implying Boyd does not hire African Americans. Boyd also asked for the remarks to be removed from the commission’s record.

The comments in question occurred during a June 3 commission work session where Boyd requested a grade-level salary increase for his employees in the Probate Court office, and during a commission meeting on June 7 when the commission approved the county’s annual budget. Boyd also addressed the commission regarding the comments at their June 21 meeting.

“I am here one last time to ask for an apology from Commissioner Richard English about remarks he made and requesting that those remarks be placed into the minutes,” said Boyd.

Boyd further requested that English’s comments during the June meetings be removed from the minutes.

The specific section of the minutes that Boyd, who is white, requested the removal of reads as follows:

“Commissioner Morris Jones made a motion to adopt the budget as presented. Commissioner English seconded the motion with the exception of Judge Boyd’s office (Probate Court) due to the fact he doesn’t want to hire his folks. Commissioner English wanted to make sure this was part of the record. Motion died for a lack of a second.”

The fiscal year 2017 budget was unanimously approved during that meeting including Boyd’s office, though the grade-level salary increase the judge requested was not granted.  Boyd alleges that English’s comments were unfounded and – in his words – “reverse discrimination.” English is black.

“I am not a racist,” said Boyd. “I do not hire on the basis of racial color, so please tell me that his remarks will be proven or removed from the record.”

The Troup County Board of Commissioners does not generally remove information from past meeting minutes regardless of content. Proof for or against English’s statement regarding the probate office’s hiring practices under Boyd was not offered in the meeting.

“The minutes of the meeting were what actually happened in the recording of that, and they cannot be changed,” said County Attorney Jerry Willis. “… As you look at the minutes as recorded, Judge Boyd appeared before this group on June 21, 2016, and he… asked to make sure that (Boyd’s) statement, (his) response would be on record, so that anyone could see them for the next 100 years.”

Boyd’s statements from the June meeting are listed in the minutes for that meeting, including a statement of possible legal action against the Board of Commissioners, English and Troup County. English did not speak on the matter, and the board denied the request for a public apology at the meeting.

“Speaking on behalf of the commissioners, I think this is more of a personal issue here,” said Commission Chairman Patrick Crews. “As for the board, I don’t think Commissioner English would be expected to make a public apology today on behalf of the board members.”

A partial transcript of the meeting where the statements were initially made can be found in our article Accusations fly at commission meeting.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet again on Feb. 21 at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Ave.

Reach Alicia B. Hill at alicia.hill@lagrangenews.com or at 706-884-7311, Ext. 2154.

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