Archived Story

Harris likely to keep commission seat

Published 10:56pm Friday, August 2, 2013

Pike County Commissioner Charlie Harris was arrested for alleged harassment that involved sexual advances, according to a victim. However, he likely won’t be removed from his commission seat because of the arrest.

“The law is silent about anything impacting a public official’s status until and unless there is a conviction,” said Sonny Brasfield, executive director of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama.

That means that, until a conviction occurs, a commissioner’s status doesn’t change. And even if Harris is convicted of the harassment charge, it’s a misdemeanor.

“Misdemeanor charges do not affect a public official’s status in office, even if they are convicted,” Brasfield explained.

An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint has also been filed against Harris and the Pike County Commission, however, that’s likely to have no bearing on the commissioner’s status, either.

Although Brasfield admits he isn’t an EEOC expert he said, “I am not aware of anything in the EEOC process that could result in a public official vacating office.”

Brasfield said Alabama law is very specific about how and why elected officials are removed from office.

Harris is involved in a public capacity through his job as a Pike County Schools bus driver, as well. Pike County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Bazzell said that Harris is still employed as a bus driver at this time.

“We are following the situation at this time, but have no further comment,” Bazzell said.

Harris was arrested on July 26 for the alleged crime that took place on July 22 at the Pike County Commission building. The Pike County administrator and attorney have declined to comment on any pending litigation.

Brasfield’s statements for this article were general and not specific to Harris’ case.

 

  • excedrin21

    Oh how sweet!!! So someone can be a sexual deviate and drive our students to school and trips on a school bus and also be an appropriate role model in the community as a county commissioner???!!! Come on people, get a grip on reality! What happened to “no tolerance”? So the Pike County Commission is just sweeping this under the rug? Does this make it ok b/c he didn’t get accused from a minor? NOT ACCEPTABLE!

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  • pikecountian

    This is absolutely disgusting!! This isn’t the FIRST time he has been accused of such, and recently at that! He continues to get away with his vulgar sexual behavior! It is truly sad when people like this get away with such crap, because of their “position” or because of someone being afraid of a law suit! What is this world coming to??

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  • unknown

    Charlie Harris is nothing but a official who constantly abuses is role as a County Commissioner. This is simply another “Incident” that is being brushed under the rug by our wonderful role models of the community. I pray that these charges stick considering this is not the first accusation against him. The fact that he can possibly keep his seat even if he is convicted disgusts me…

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