Sheriff’s Employee Sends Campaign Invite Through County Email

(Memphis) An announcement meant to kick off the Shelby County Sheriff’s campaign may have landed one of his employees in trouble.

That’s because it was done during work hours from a Sheriff official’s email account.

WREG-TV along with a long list of other media outlets and county employees received an email announcing Sheriff Bill Oldham’s big campaign kickoff this weekend.

The problem is when it was sent and how.

A press release sent out around 2:30 p.m. Thursday, on official letterhead and from a county email account may have landed Sheriff Oldham’s public information officer, Chip Washington, in trouble.

The release wasn’t about the sheriff’s official duties but about his political campaign.

The county’s personnel policy clearly says, “All of Shelby County government’s communication media and information systems are installed for the purpose of conducting county business.”

It goes on to say, “These systems are not to be used to solicit others for personal, commercial, religious or political causes…”

The email was recalled within minutes and Washington apologized in a second email. He said the Sheriff had nothing to do with the email being sent.

He said, “We all error at times as was the case in this instance. “

Still, the sheriff’s big announcement raises questions about what county employees do while being paid with county tax dollars.

County employees were sent a reminder in August of the rules and regulations on using county computers, supplies and what they can and can’t do on the clock.

Violation of the policy could result in discipline even firing.


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