Pike County supervisors said Monday they are working on a solution to their dispute with a woman who returned from military deployment overseas and asked for her county job back.
Melvin Joe Johnson, working as a volunteer for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, appeared before the board Monday to speak on behalf of Raven Ashley, who had served as deputy fiscal officer for the sheriff’s department last year before deployment to Qatar with the Air National Guard.
When she returned, she asked for her job or a comparable position, but was offered lesser-paying positions of deputy or jailer instead.
When she appealed to supervisors, they rejected her request on a 3-2 vote May 15 amid heated discussion.
“This is something terrible whenever a person leaves their job and goes overseas to defend America,” Johnson said.
Johnson, who was longtime district commander of the VFW, gave supervisors a five-page summary of the law regarding a service member’s rights to reemployment.
“The reemployment position includes the seniority, status and rate of pay that an employee would ordinarily have attained in that position given his or her job history, including prospects for future earnings and advancements,” said a passage in the material.
But board president Sam Hall said he expects the matter to be resolved.
“At the meeting before last we did come up with a plan on that, so we are working to fix that,” Hall said, referring to a May 21 meeting in which a group of veterans and lawmen made an impassioned plea to return Ashley to her job.
“We’re working with her and we hope to have that fixed shortly,” Hall said. “We did resolve that issue and are working on a final resolution.”
He did not go into detail, and the board thanked Johnson for his service.