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Staff File Photo / Melydia Clewell

Melydia Clewell will resign from her position as chief of staff at the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office effective May 17, after more than a year of controversy over nepotism at the agency.

"I can confirm that payroll has been notified that her pay will be discontinued on May 17," Lee Brouner, the county's chief financial officer, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press on Wednesday.

Clewell, 53, did not respond to a request for comment, and neither did the DA's office. She was a television journalist first hired by District Attorney Neal Pinkston as a public information officer. He later married her and hired her brother, as reported last year by the Times Free Press.

Pinkston has stood by his actions, saying they are legally and ethically sound. The state Comptroller's Office and the Attorney General's Office disagreed, saying the arrangement violated state nepotism law in letters they issued in February. Pinkston placed the Clewells on paid leave at that time.

Clewell's brother, Kerry, submitted his resignation last month as an investigator — also effective May 17. At the time, the office issued a statement saying, "Ms. Clewell continues to explore her options."

Pinkston was defeated in the Republican primary earlier this month, in his effort to win re-election.

Melydia Clewell started in 2015 in the office, which has funding from both the state and the county. In an effort to avoid state nepotism laws, Pinkston moved Clewell to the county portion of his payroll on Aug. 1 — raising her pay from $87,948 a year to $91,000. The comptroller and attorney general determined nepotism rules still applied.

Contact La Shawn Pagán at or 423-757-6476. Follow her on Twitter @LaShawnPagan.


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