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click to enlarge CRANE: Jeans OK as long as they're clean.
  • CRANE: Jeans OK as long as they're clean.

Former Pulaski Circuit Clerk Pat O'Brien was known for imposing rules on his employees. A long list of "personal appearance guidelines" included "Take a bath or shower daily. Use a deodorant," "Wear clean undergarments daily," and "Scrub your hands well with soap and hot water, brush under fingernails before starting work." The wearing of jeans was banned, as were "Capri pants, unless worn as a matching set." In the name of physical fitness, O'Brien required timed runs by employees. To make them smarter, he ordered book reports on books he'd chosen.

O'Brien's successor, Circuit Clerk Larry Crane, has freed the employees from such coercion. (In fairness, Crane said that many of the personal-appearance guidelines had been drafted by a committee and were never actually enforced by O'Brien. That may have been because journalists had speculated merrily about O'Brien's inspecting of underwear and deodorant.) Crane said he'd repealed the ban on jeans, "as long as they're clean." He has no compulsory reading list for employees, nor exercise requirements.

O'Brien ran for secretary of state last fall, and was defeated by Mark Martin, who is demonstrating that there are worse things than being a martinet.

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