The county commissioners last week severed all ties with the all-volunteer Community Relations Commission, the independent agency set up last year to help mitigate discrimination complaints.

Citing too much exposure to potential lawsuits, the commissioners ordered the commission to stop using county stationery, to give up the county officespace and to discontinue using a county phone number.

County attorney Charles W. "Chuck" Thompson Jr. said that the commission was not appointed by the commissioners but by the Human Services Council, also an independent organization. The previous county commissioners sent the Community Relations Commission a congratulatory letter when it was formed in 1989.

Thompson told the commissionersthat, under the county's form of government, they do not have authority to establish mediating commissions; the General Assembly must give the county legislative permission to do so.

The CRC acts as a sort of informal mediator, listening to complaints and referring peopleto agencies where formal investigations of those discrimination complaints.

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