Grievance filed by former Craighead Co. Eastern Deputy Clerk terminated for violating ‘COVID policy’

Citizens unhappy with official’s termination
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 7:22 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Former Craighead County Eastern Deputy Clerk Sue Gurley requested a grievance hearing Tuesday with the county over her recent termination for violating a “COVID policy” that some say does not exist.

In a letter from Gurley to County Judge Marvin Day, she states her termination was “without due process,” citing the Arkansas Constitution, U.S. Constitution and the Craighead County personnel handbook.

The termination letter from Circuit Clerk Candace Edwards says, “On October 1, 2020, a policy reminder was sent out to all employees of the county on how to prevent and reduce the transmission of COVID-19.”

Edwards also says, “the policy required employees who have COVID-19 to notify their supervisor and stay home.”

Something Gurley says, “No such policy exists.”

Gurley confirmed she was at the doctor on Feb. 1 for other issues saying her doctor didn’t believe she had COVID-19.

The termination letter also states Gurley “knowingly came to work despite being under quarantine order from the Arkansas Department of Health due to being a close contact with a known COVID-19 positive individual.”

In the grievance hearing request, Gurley said she did not believe she had contact with a known COVId-19 positive individual nor did she experience symptoms as the termination letter claimed.

On Friday, Feb. 26 at 10:30 a.m., the Craighead County Grievance Committee will meet to determine if she is reinstated or accept the termination.

On Monday, Craighead County Circuit Clerk Candace Edwards fired Eastern Deputy Clerk Sue Gurley, according to Craighead County Judge Marvin Day.

He said Edwards suspended Gurley with pay for a little more than a week before terminating her on the grounds of violating a COVID-19 policy.

However, Day said the county does not have such a policy.

Region 8 News attempted to speak with Edwards regarding her decision, but she was unavailable for comment.

Gurley had three days to file a grievance with the county.

“We’re working through that,” Day said. “Our understanding is that she does have the right to do that, which was mentioned tonight in the quorum court meeting. I think there’s a lot of people in the eastern district that doesn’t agree with that.”

Region 8 News will keep you updated.

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