By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
'Dirty politics' alleged in county race
Placeholder Image
A county employee has been accused of campaigning for Bryan County Board of Commissioners District 2 candidate Ted Akins. But with Primary Election Day less than a week a way, Akins is warning it’s a “prime time for dirty politics.”
The campaign for Wade Price, who is also running for the District 2 seat in Tuesday’s election, issued a press release Monday evening describing a letter from Ellabell resident Dale Smith that was hand delivered last week to County Administrator Phil Jones.
According to the release, Smith was approached around 10:50 a.m. July 7 on Bell Road in Ellabell by Darryl Newman, who had just stepped out of a clearly marked county vehicle.
“He told me that I needed to vote for Ted Akins and (state representative candidate) Jan Tankersley,” Smith said.
“This guy is working for the Bryan County taxpayers. He’s even on the clock,” Smith continued. “He’s driving a vehicle purchased by our tax dollars. For him to stop, give you a flyer and tell you who to vote for is just not right.”
Akins said Tuesday that he’d heard nothing of the allegations but agreed that county employees should not be campaigning in local elections. But he noted the week before an election day is a “prime time for dirty politics.”
“I would never ask a county employee to break a rule,” he said. “I’m sorry if it happened, but I also think we have to take some of these things this time of year with a grain of salt.”
The press release calls Smith “an avid supporter” of Price, and the candidate’s campaign admitted Smith has volunteered for  Price. But Price denies being involved in any dirty politics.
“I would have the same reaction if the county employee was passing out ‘Wade Price’ literature,” he said. “There are some things that are just wrong no matter who does them.”
Dirty politics or not, the alleged incident is a concern to County Administrator Phil Jones, who said Monday he was in the process of investigating the complaint.
Jones said that in accordance with the county’s terms of employment, campaigning on behalf of any local election – on or off the clock – is prohibited.
”It is considered a serious issue,” he said.
County policy does not specify the action to be taken in such a situation, Jones said, “but it could be a full range from oral reprimand to termination.”
He noted that the rules on campaigning for candidates at the state or federal level are different and less strict.
He said that while he has heard past rumors of employees campaigning for local candidates, Smith’s letter was the first official complaint he has ever received.
Jones said he hopes to have the matter cleared up by the end of the week.

Sign up for our E-Newsletters