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NAACP: County lacks black workers

A member of the Lincoln County NAACP is challenging supervisors to “pay more attention” and put “black qualified people” in positions at the Lincoln County-Brookhaven Government Complex.

Rev. Rico Cain, pastor of Greater Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, accused supervisors earlier this week of discriminatory hiring practices when it comes to county offices in the courthouse building located on South First Street.

Cain said the Lincoln County chapter of the NAACP has investigated the county’s hiring practices in the courthouse for two years and was “saddened by the discovery” that the county had “neglected to hire African American people.”

Cain said the investigation centered on the hiring practices with the county at the courthouse, not on road crews or in other offices. It also did not include the city offices located at the courthouse, he said.

“Lincoln County courthouse is 94 percent Caucasian,” he said. “And that’s a pretty sad indictment. Even when there is open positions in our courthouse, we have intentionally sent qualified black Americans that don’t even get a phone call back.”

Cain said he planned to discuss his findings with the state office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission but wanted to talk with supervisors first.

Cain said it’s been suggested that the problem comes from the lack of an NAACP push to get more black officials elected to office.

“Maybe that’s been the problem, but I would like to think my brothers right here, black and white, will look into this accusation that I’m saying and study more carefully because we think that eagles is almost extinct, black Americans are almost extinct in the workplace,” he said. “We ask that you all would pay more attention to it and try to put some black qualified people in our positions … in this Lincoln County courthouse.”

County administrator David Fields provided The Daily Leader with a breakdown by races of the 163 men and women employed full-time and part-time by the county.

 

Employee race breakdown

His spreadsheet shows the following breakdown:

Full-time

• Official administrators — 2 white males

• Professionals — 4 white males

• Protective service — 1 Hispanic male, 23 white males, 8 black males, 5 white females, 5 black females

• Paraprofessionals — 1 white female

• Administrative support — 7 white males, 34 white females, 7 black females

• Service/maintenance — 16 white males, 10 black males

Part-time

• Official administrators — 2 white males, 1 black male

• Professionals — 1 white male, 1 white female

• Protective service — 4 white males, 2 black males, 1 white female, 1 black female

• Administrative support — 2 white males, 5 white females, 2 black females

• Service/maintenance — 9 white males, 7 black males, 1 white female, 1 black female

Fields said that the county’s employment is 72 percent white and 28 percent black.

 

However, Cain said Friday his investigation focused on the employees within the county offices and he provided his own breakdown, based on conversations Friday with each department’s supervisor or manager.

His spreadsheet, presented to The Daily Leader Friday, shows an employment roster divided by department and race.

Sheriff’s Office:

• Jail — 16 full-time (4 white, 12 black), 5 part-time (2 white, 3 black)

• Deputies — 23 full-time (21 white, 2 black)

Justice Court

• Clerk — 5 full-time (4 white, 1 black)

Chancery Clerk’s office

• Clerk — 5 full-time (5 white), 1 part-time (1 black)

Tax Assessor/Collector’s office

• Deputy collectors — 9 (8 white, 1 black)

• Deputy assessors — 5 (4 white, 1 black)

Circuit Clerk’s office

• Clerks — 4 full-time (2 white, 2 black)

Administrative office

• Accounts payable, payroll, receiving, E911 and purchasing — 6 full-time (6 white)

 

Change called for

Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop, on Tuesday, said employees rarely leave positions in his office.

“We don’t have any turnover,” he said. “If I don’t have any turnover, then I can’t replace somebody that there’s not an opening for. I understand where you’re coming from, I really do.”

Cain said he expects to see change in the county offices.

“When it gets down to our people, it’s time that somebody takes a stand and that would be me. I’m on the executive board of the NAACP and a civil rights activist and it’s my job to promote African Americans. I’ll be very saddened if I didn’t do that,” he said. “Qualified people have come in and applied for these jobs … That simply means we’re hiring our friends, our buddies, our cousins, and so forth of that nature. It’s time that we do something different.”

The five-man board — which is four white elected officials and one black — took no action on Cain’s comments, nor did they comment after his presentation.

For nearly a minute, no one said anything.

“I didn’t mean to silence the house,” he said, before Board President Jerry Wilson, supervisor of District 1, brought up the next agenda item.