"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Jackson County Commission Regular Session, County Administrator Saga Contiues

Jackson County Administrator, Ms. Sandra Erickson (photo by G. Morgan)
Jackson County Commission Administrator Sandra Erickson's status with the county commission is unknown to the public at this time. Ms. Erickson was asked to depart on Administrative Leave on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Ms. Erickson has remarked to several sources and this writer that she has no idea as to why she was asked to leave.
As of Tuesday's commission meeting Ms. Erickson indicated she still did not know what the reason for her being asked to depart last Wednesday. However, she was informed by the County Attorney after Tuesday's meeting that she would be receiving a formal notice within 2-3 days. In this mornings local newspaper, The Daily Sentinel, it was reported that Ms. Erickson has been notified as to the details of the reasons she was asked to leave last Wednesday. Previous article from this blog on the County Administrator situation: http://arklite.blogspot.com/2013/05/jackson-county-commission-chairman-we.html
WAFF Report on the County Administrator mystery with photograph: http://scottsboro.waff.com/news/news/156873-jackson-co-administrators-job-limbo
More information will be released concerning the County Administrator issue as it becomes available.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Scottsboro City Council - Work Session and Regular Session

Monday was a combined meeting of the Scottsboro City Council. In the Regular Session the City Council unanimously appointed Whitney Phillips as the City Clerk, effective June 3, 2013. (City Hall photo by G. Morgan)
The appointment of the Scottsboro Parks and Recreation Board, Goosepond Colony Board, Member was tabled. The 6 year term of Joe Barnes expires.
Farewell to City Engineer Charles King, he accepted another governmental engineering job in South Alabama.
Agenda of Work Session and Regular Session

VIDEO of Combined Sessions 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Jackson County Commission Chairman, "we are not calling it a termination at this time;" referring to the dismissal of the County Administrator.

Jackson County Courthouse South side - photo by G.Morgan.
Home page of the Jackson County Commission http://www.jacksoncountyal.com/commission.html
I contacted Matthew Hodges, Jackson County Commission Chairman, this morning concerning the announcement in the Daily Sentinel that the County Administrator no longer has a job. Headlines read: "Erickson Out as County Administrator." Ms. Sandra Erickson has been employed by Jackson County since October 2009. Prior to the last commission leaving office they had extended Erickson's contract for a period of 3 years, effective July 2012. Erickson's annual salary is approximately $90K per year. If the commission dismisses Ms. Erickson without cause her contract buyout will cost the citizens in excess of $180,000. (cropped photo of Mr. Hodges - fair usage right, not for profit news reporting- $1.2 Million budget gap - http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/mar/04/jackson-county-weighs-12-million-budget-gap/ )

I asked the following questions of Mr. Hodges- Question: "Do you have any comment concerning the termination of Ms. Erickson?" Hodges: "We are not calling it a termination at this time. We will release more information Tuesday after the commission meeting." Question: "Will you be buying out the remaining portion of her contract?" Hodges: "We will release more information after Tuesday's commission meeting." Question: "Is there any comment you are willing to make at this time?" Hodges: "We will release more information after Tuesdays commission meeting."

Official photo of the Jackson County Commission on their web site. http://www.jacksoncountyal.com/commission.html  (Fair Usage Right)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


(photo by G. Morgan)
The Jackson County Alabama Legislative Delegation Acts as if it is a separate government entity operating in contravention of the Constitution of the State of Alabama. The Delegation and its political committee distributes funds in SECRET, violating the Open Meetings law - but no one seems to care, or do they? A previous commissioner is suing them over their secret, unconstitutional behavior. 
On one hand the Department of Public Examiners has called the Delegation a "Political Caucus" and not required to follow the Open Meetings Laws of the State. On the other hand the Delegation calls themselves a Non-Profit Organization. The Delegation and its representative committee distributes public funds without any open deliberation. Regardless of how the Delegation distributes the funds not belonging to them, they operate in secret and have done so for many years.

1 SB468
4 With Notice and Proof
7 Relating to Jackson County; to amend and reenact
8 Section 1 of Act 79-473, 1979 Regular Session, as amended by
9 Act 99-550, and Act 2012-421, so as to provide for the 10 appropriation of funds received by the county from payments
11 made in lieu of taxes by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
13 Section 1. Act 79-473, 1979 Regular Session (Acts
14 1979, p. 873), as amended by Act 99-550, and as further 15 amended by Act 2012-421, is amended and reenacted to read as
16 follows:
17 "Section 1. Any payments coming into the treasury of
18 Jackson County that are derived, directly or indirectly, from 19 payments by the Tennessee Valley Authority in lieu of payment
20 of taxes shall be appropriated as follows:
21 "(A) The first one hundred forty-five thousand
22 dollars ($145,000) of each year's payments shall be paid to 23 the Jackson County Hospital Board to provide all residents of 24 Jackson County with adequate ambulance service.
Page 1

1 "(B) After the above appropriation to the Jackson
2 County Hospital Board, the next one hundred five thousand
3 dollars ($105,000) shall be paid to the Jackson County
4 Economic Development Authority on an annual basis. Said 5 appropriation shall be paid before all other appropriations 6 other than the appropriation to the hospital board.
7 "(C) In addition to all other amounts hereinabove
8 paid to the Jackson County Economic Development Authority, the
9 next seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000), after the
10 appropriations in subsections (A) and (B) above shall be
11 annually paid to the Authority. All appropriations made in
12 this subsection to the Jackson County Economic Development
13 Authority shall be deposited in a special industrial
14 development fund to be used only for the purposes of this
15 subsection as follows: for recruiting industry; matching
16 public or private grants the county may receive for industrial
17 development; and special projects for site preparation, 18 surveying, archaeological or geotechnical studies, or other
19 direct expenses necessary to recruit industry to the county.
20 "(D) After the above appropriation, all Jackson
21 County volunteer fire departments in good standing with the
22 Jackson County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments shall
23 be authorized to receive five thousand dollars ($5,000) each
24 annually to help furnish adequate fire protection in the
25 communities that they serve. The amount paid to each volunteer
Page 2

1 fire department shall be paid at the direction of the County
2 Fire Marshal and disbursed to each fire chief upon approval of
3 the County Fire Marshal. In addition to the above, thirty
4 thousand dollars ($30,000) shall be distributed to the Jackson
5 County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments for use by
6 the association.
7 "(E) After the above appropriation, the next
8 twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) of each year's payments
9 shall be distributed to the Scottsboro-Jackson County Rescue 10 Squad for the maintenance and operation of the rescue squad's 11 equipment and facilities.
12 "(F) An annual accounting of the use of the funds
13 appropriated in subsections (A), (B), (C), (D), and (E) shall
14 be furnished to the Jackson County Discretionary Committee no
15 later than September 30 of each year. In the event an annual
16 accounting is not furnished, the committee may reduce or
17 terminate funding for the next fiscal year for the entity
18 failing to furnish the report by a majority vote of the 19 committee.
20 "(G) Commencing October 1, 2013, the net payments
21 remaining in the appropriation paid to Jackson County after 22 the appropriations in subsections (A), (B), (C), (D), and (E) 23 above shall be appropriated as follows:
24 "(1) Two percent (2%) of such payments, as shall be
25 necessary, shall be used to establish, equip and maintain a
Page 3

1 legislative office for the members of the state legislative
2 delegation serving Jackson County, Alabama, and any unused
3 portion shall be paid to the Jackson County Discretionary Fund
4 to be disbursed by the Jackson County Discretionary Committee,
5 as established hereinafter, in the same manner as all other 6 funds from the Jackson County Discretionary Fund. 7 "(2) Two percent (2%) of such payments shall be 8 appropriated to Jackson County EDA under this act.
9 "(3) Thirty-three and fifty hundredths percent
10 (33.5%) of such payments shall be appropriated to the public 11 school systems within Jackson County on a per pupil pro rata
12 basis.
13 "(4) Twenty-five and fifty hundredths percent
14 (25.5%) of such payments shall be appropriated to the 15 incorporated municipalities within the county on a population
16 basis.
17 "(5) Twenty-five and fifty hundredths percent
18 (25.5%) of such payments shall be placed in the general fund 19 of the county treasury and may be used for any lawful purpose 20 by the county.
21 "(6) Eleven and fifty hundredths percent (11.50%) of
22 such payments shall be placed in a Jackson County 23 Discretionary Fund to be disbursed by the Jackson County 24 Discretionary Committee, as established hereinafter.
Page 4

1 "(H) There is created a Jackson County Discretionary
2 Committee consisting of six members. The members of the
3 committee shall be: the Chair of the Jackson County
4 Commission, a member of the Jackson County Commission selected
5 by the commission on an annual basis, the Jackson County
6 Revenue Commissioner, the state senator representing Jackson
7 County, and the two state House of Representatives members
8 representing all or part of Jackson County. The state senator
9 representing Jackson County shall be the chair of the
10 committee. The discretionary committee shall adopt rules of
11 procedure consistent with this act and shall make, by majority
12 vote, all decisions concerning disbursement from the Jackson
13 County Discretionary Fund."
14 Section 2. All prior local acts of the Alabama
15 Legislature related to the distribution of Tennessee Valley
16 Authority in lieu of tax payments that are inconsistent
17 herewith are repealed.
18 Section 3. The provisions of this act are severable.
19 If any part of this act is declared invalid or
20 unconstitutional, that declaration shall not affect the part 21 which remains.
22 Section 4. This act shall not affect any payments 23 for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013.
24 Section 5. This act shall be effective October 1,
25 2013.
Page 5

President and Presiding Officer of
the Senate
Speaker of the House of Representa-
8 Senate 07-MAY-13
9 I hereby certify that the within Act originated in 10 and passed the Senate.
12Patrick Harris
13 Secretary
17 House of Representatives 18 Passed: 20-MAY-13
21 By: Senator McGill
Page 6

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Jackson County Commission Work Session, May 20, 2013

Jackson County Commission Attorney John Porter explains the proposed Jackson County Animal Control Ordinance. He indicated the ordinance is structured to protect owners rights and codifies procedures concerning vicious animals and individual animal owners who act irresponsibly. Porter mentioned as an example of exceptions to enforcement within the new ordinance would be "provoked" animals under the control of the owner. (photo by G. Morgan)

Portion of commission's draft Animal Control Ordinance

AGENDA- Commissioners Ledwell and Venable were out due to their children's graduation.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Six of one, half a dozen of the other - Jackson County Legislative Delegation - Democrats and Republicans are like Criminal Gangs

Approximately seven years ago I had questioned the Jackson County Legislative Delegation's expenditure actions as to their spending of public funds. (photo by G. Morgan)

The delegation over the years has passed numerous local laws for the sole purpose of distributing public funds of Jackson County. Specifically the TVA-In-Lieu-Of-Tax funds. I filed a complaint with the local District Attorney and the Alabama State Auditors. The state sent forth a letter attempting to justify the delegations money laundering operations as an enterprise of a political caucus and as a political caucus the state could not be involved in an investigation. Further evidence indicated funds were being distributed through non-existing schools in the area. No one seemed to care about this dubious, shyster like operation. Today the shysters continue their charade. Giving credence to, "there is no difference between the Democrats or Republicans." Republicans and Democrats act as organized crime syndicates act, consistently attempting to "kill off" the competition. It is disgusting and it is time for the people to say, "enough is enough."

"Political Parties And Governments As Organized Criminal Gangs: In the USA the conservatives, that is, the Republican Party want to tax the poor and give the money to the rich; the liberals, that is, the Democratic Party want to tax the rich and use the money to serve the interests of the poor and middle class. The semblance of the two, criminal gangs and political parties, does not end there. In personality type those who tend to join criminal gangs tend to have anti social personality disorder and or narcissistic personality disorder. Those who tend to lead political parities tend to have anti social personalities and or narcissistic personalities. In America, political parties are mostly led by lawyers. Guess what, lawyers generally tend to have anti social personalities! The typical attorney is a sociopath; the average lawyer has no conscience, does not feel guilt or remorse for his wrong actions. Lawyers simply manipulate the law to get what they want for their clients and for themselves." http://chatafrik.com/articles/law-and-justice/item/1135-political-parties-and-governments-as-organized-criminal-gangs.html

The current administration of the Jackson County TVA-in-lieu-of-tax-funds are just as messed up as any time in the past. The delegation in their efforts cannot seem to fathom that the TVA-in-lieu-of-tax funds should be distributed by the Jackson County Commission and the various municipal governments of Jackson County. In gaining the control of the annual multiple million dollars fund the delegation has acted as if they are a money laundering criminal enterprise to hide the fact that they have diverted funds belonging to the people of Jackson County and the several municipalities of the county.

During the Democrat politicians term at the helm of the delegation there was a considerable amount of press describing how the funds were spent. Under the current Republican regime there is an air of secrecy, very little press and a continuous stream of confusion and political wrangling to preserve the delegations distribution of the funds.

The delegations actions are rooted in historical Alabama Power politics of deceit and control to maintain power. In this case money equals power. The power to say, "see what a wonderful politician I am, I have gave you millions." Money laundering, power plays and secrecy cloud the distribution of TVA-in-lieu-of-tax-funds. http://arklite.blogspot.com/search/label/Jackson%20County%20Legislative%20Delegation

The delegation's process in the distribution of the TVA-in-lieu-of-tax is indicative of  money laundering in the unbridled promotion of state politicians egos.  Fund distribution is accomplished in secret without any disclosure of a deliberative process. Worse the delegation has wrangled the county commission chair into their devious deed. 

In 2006 after being questioned on the legality of their actions in violation of the Open Meetings Act the local legislators formed a non-profit entity in the excuse to launder and hide the distribution of our public money. Today this non-profit entity is still in existence and these representatives of the people continue their devious ways of what seems to be a secret, criminal enterprise under the color of law. Attempting to justify the distribution of county and municipal public funds as a non-profit entity.
The Jackson County Legislative Delegation continues their charade by wasting tens of thousands upon tens of thousands of dollars in the expansion of their realm of deceit and misutilization of our public funds. All beyond the purview of an open government process. http://www.theclarion.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4780:legislative-delegation-purchase-building&catid=42:clarion-rotation-stories&Itemid=142
Not one word that the entire process was conducted in secret as the delegation acts as if it is a non-profit entity - no one challenges the crooks. The current crooks find it very easy to bash a former politician,  just like a criminal gang. Where were they at when evidence of money laundering was brought forward? Could it be both political gangs have participated in the gains?