Tryon amends personnel policy regarding employees running for office

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, April 4, 2017

TRYON – Employees of the Town of Tryon will now be able to run for a partisan office without taking a leave of absence from the town without pay while campaigning.

Tryon Town Council met March 21 and amended its personnel policy to reflect the change.

Tryon Town Manager Zach Ollis said a current town employee is considering seeking a partisan office and the current ordinance would require the employee to take a leave without pay for 30 days prior to a primary. If the candidate won the primary, the employee would have to continue the leave without pay until the day after the general election, according to the town’s previous policy. The employee seeking election has not yet been announced nor the office for which the employee plans to seek.

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Commissioner Crys Armbrust said the current policy to him impedes the potential for individuals who desire to run for office, which he sees as every American’s right, an unnecessary impediment.

Commissioner Bill Ingham said the issue is not for a local race, such as for the town, because town elections are non-partisan.

Town attorney Bailey Nager said the town had the same issue a number of years ago. Nager was referring to then Harmon Field Supervisor George Alley, who had to take a leave without pay while he was running for the N.C. House of Representatives District 113 in 2012.

Nager said there is a federal law that prohibits federal employees from running but the town has the right to make its own policy because the town is not funded by federal dollars.

Ingham said he doesn’t have a problem with the change and commissioners approved deleting that portion of the policy.