State rules District Attorney Pinkston has violated Nepotism laws

His his wife and brother in law work in his office, Pinkston puts them on leave as a result

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Hamilton County District Attorney has placed two of his employees on leave following a state ruling against his officer for nepotism.

Neal Pinkston has been under fire for having his wife and her brother working in his office.

Pinkston married his staffer, Melydia Clewell, after she had been working the office.

The Comptroller of the Treasury issued an opinion on whether the District Attorney has violated state law on Wednesday.

The report finds that Pinkston did violate the Tennessee State Employees Uniform Nepotism Policy Act.

The District Attorney argued that he avoided the conflict because both his wife and brother-in-law are paid by Hamilton County and not the state.

And his brother-in-law is actually supervised by someone else in the office, not by the DAG.

But the Comptroller found “changing the funding source for a position from state to county does not remove the DAG’s office from the application of the Nepotism Act.”

As for Investigator Kerry Clewell, “the DAG cannot evade the prohibitions set forth in the Act by shifting supervisory responsibility to other members of the office because both the Executive Administrator and the Assistant District Attorney General are ultimately supervised by the DAG and therefore remain in his direct line of supervision.”

The report reminds us that nepotism rules were created to avoid conflicts of interest and favoritism in government.

But the Comptroller says he did NOT find any evidence that there was any favoritism in the DAG’s office.

Pinkston issued this statement Wednesday afternoon:

“In response to the comptroller’s investigative report issued today, two employees within the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office will be placed on leave effective immediately. I am reviewing the recommendations of the comptroller’s office and may have additional comments at a later date.”

Categories: Featured, Government & Politics, Hamilton County, Local News

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