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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2006
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George asks Glasscock to
resign

E-mail probe won't include
hard drives of Scott or Bartlett

By Sheryl Marsh
smarsh@decaturdaily.com 340-2437

Morgan County Commission Chairman Pro Tem Stacy George asked Chairman John Glasscock to resign Thursday as an e-mail investigation lost steam.

"I don't think this commission can function properly," George said. "I think it would be in the best interest of the people of Morgan County for Mr. Glasscock to resign."

Glasscock did not respond.

The County Commission spent much of its meeting time Thursday addressing the ongoing e-mail scandal and investigation into use of county computers.

The commission majority passed a motion for a computer specialist to look at information on the available hard drives. That does not include the computers of Revenue Commissioner Amanda Scott or Sheriff Greg Bartlett, who refuse to surrender their hard drives.

George voted no, saying the investigation should cover all computers or none.

Commissioners Ken Livingston, Jeff Clark and Kevin Murphy went against a proposal by George to seek a court order to get Bartlett's and Scott's computer hard drives.

Scott and Bartlett said they are protecting sensitive information.

During the work session, George said checking hard
drives is an audit.

"The taxpayers of Morgan County deserve to know what people are using these computers for," said George.

He said he wasn't concerned about whether someone has "a girlfriend or boyfriend."

"But if this is all they're using them for, I'm going to recommend that we pull them out of the wall," George said of the county computers.

Clark said the commission cannot tell other elected officials what to do and he is not for getting a court order for the hard drives.

Murphy said it's time to end the investigation and "look at something positive for the county."

Livingston said he is for accountability, but he is not for getting a court order.

Glasscock, who was not supposed to participate in the investigation because he used his computer to forward an e-mail of naked women to a Decatur city official, presided over the issue and when George tried to make a statement about the probe, Glasscock told him, "I'm running this meeting, Mr. George."

Also, some members of the local Republican Party were present. Glasscock let one of the members argue with George, alleging that the District 4 commissioner is on a witch hunt. Also, the member expressed that she trusts Scott as the revenue commissioner.

George defended himself, saying he didn't start the scandal. It started with fired human resources director Jack Underwood and Glasscock. He said the only reason he was leading the probe is that he is chairman pro tem. Clark moves into the rotating position in January.

After the GOP member finished speaking, the other members applauded.

All the commissioners are Republicans, with Clark changing from the Democratic Party earlier this year. Scott and Bartlett are Republicans also. Bartlett was a Democrat initially.

In addition to Scott and Bartlett, Probate Judge Bobby Day's attorney issued a letter saying that he would only release his hard drive by a court order due to sensitive information. Day was at Thursday's meeting and reiterated his position.

Also, Adonis Bailey, chairwoman of the Board of Registrars, wrote a letter saying officials could not look at her hard drive. She addressed the commission Thursday about how a county enforcement officer assisted with removing hard
drives from her office.

George told her that the specialist did not copy the hard
drives.

Glasscock initially ignored a citizen who wanted to speak, but eventually let her do so.

Glenny Tapscott said she had a bad experience in probate court and gave detailed information about her family background.

"I know all about Morgan County and the good old boys," Tapscott said.

Tapscott said she doesn't like what is going on with county government and "if it keeps on, it's going to be a ghetto."

During the meeting, before George asked for a vote on the agenda item for getting a court order, County Attorney Bill Shinn advised the commission to go into executive session for legal advice.

A reporter questioned Glasscock about whether he should participate in the closed meeting because he is a party to the e-mail scandal. He didn't answer, but went to the session anyway.

A few minutes later, however, Glasscock left the executive session and sat at the podium. He explained that Shinn advised him to leave the session.

When the commission returned from the closed session, George's call for a motion to seek a court order went unanswered.

Then George asked the commissioners what they wanted to do.

Livingston moved for the computer specialist to process data on the hard drives he copied two weeks ago. Murphy seconded the motion and George cast the only no vote.

After the meeting, George said he believes Glasscock influenced the commissioners against a court order.

Glasscock and each commissioner said they had not conspired about the issue.

George was unconvinced.

"He has said numerous times that he wanted this story to go off the TV and out of the newspaper," said George. "I guess he thinks it will go away if we don't get those hard drives. I asked him to resign and I am not the only one who wants that.

"I've had numerous calls and e-mails asking what could be done to him. I honestly feel that since he's hindered the investigation he needs to leave because he can no longer be an effective leader. He was the first person to suggest firing Jack Underwood, although rather than reprimand him, he condoned Jack's action and joined in by sending the e-mail to someone else."

Glasscock didn't answer reporters when they asked him publicly about George's request. Later, he gave this statement:

"We have a great county with many good things happening and it is time for the commission to focus on these positive things and move forward. And, I will certainly do my part as chairman."

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