"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."


Saturday, January 30, 2016

“Deep Throat” (Informant), City of Scottsboro Employee Comes Forward - Part 3 January 30, 2016

photo by G. Morgan
Complete stories on the surveillance and mayors misbehavior, including "Deep Throat" Parts 1 & 2 and legal actions filed in the Jackson County Circuit Court.

Multi-part interview of ‘a concerned Scottsboro City Employee’ ( ‘ ‘ indicates name redacted) during the last week of January 2016 (specific date and time removed). Names have been redacted, governmental political or appointed positions remain intact.

Deep Throat Part 3

A few days after I read about the ‘shop foreman’s’ (name redacted) lawsuit being filed I saw the posting for the shop department head. I think the job had been empty since last spring when the mayor did this to the ‘shop foreman’ (name redacted) Now all of a sudden it is posted again. Am I the only person thinking, what the hell?

And the same talk is going out in the street department again that ‘the street department head’ (name redacted) and mayor have been talking to ‘the other named candidate’ (name redacted) again. An employee told me he had talked to ‘the other named candidate’ (name redacted) and he wished he had taken the job last year.

 I think the mayor is just doing this to show his power and make the ‘shop foreman’ (name redacted) suffer.

Do you care if we take a break? (My answer, “that will be fine.”)

The mayor is big buddies with ‘the street department head and the city hall department head’ (names redacte). They get away with everything. I can remember seeing ‘the street department head’s (name redacted) truck parked every day at the rec com after work. I heard him say that he worked out there. We can't use our city vehicles for personal stuff like that. You have to take your vehicle home after work and get your personal vehicle. Do you want to see a picture?

My answer, “Yes, please. Are you saying the enforcement of policies regarding city vehicles are not carried out fairly?” Informant’s answer: ”It is unfair and here are the pictures. I was told that there would be action taken against me if I abused the city vehicle policy. Then I see the mayor’s buddies getting away with whatever they want, and I guess they go and come when they want. These pictures are of ‘the street department head’ (name redacted) at the Rec Com.”

photo by informant

photo by informant

I know ‘the street department head’ (name redacted) is big buddies with ‘the personal board member – business owner’ (name redacted). I've seen ‘the street department head’s’ (name redacted) city truck at ‘the personal board member – business owner’ (name redacted) shop many days after work when I've been by there to pick up supper. Do you want to see a picture?  (My answer, Yes pictures are always appreciated.)

photo by informant

Photos provided by informant – Business name and phone number partially obscured

City employees can't do this. I think there is an ordinance, but you will have to look that up. I just know you can't use the city vehicle for personal use or drive it home if you live outside the city.

Last year the mayor started letting the ‘Fire Chief’ (name redacted) drive his city vehicle home. He lives out toward Macadonia.

I remember years ago ‘a retired street foreman,’( name redacted) could not drive his vehicle home. He only lived at Hollywood. I guess it just depends on who you are.

I have more pictures of ‘the city department head’s’ (name redacted) big boob contest. My comment, “Yes, may I make a copy of those pictures?” Informant’s reply, “Sure, would you like to have some pictures of our Cheetah Club Trip in the mayor's vehicle?" My reply: "Yes, I think that would be very revealing"

End of Part 3 -“Deep Throat” (Informant), City of Scottsboro Employee Comes Forward

“Deep Throat” (Informant), City of Scottsboro Employee Comes Forward - Part 2 January 30, 2016

Scottsboro City Hall (photo by G. Morgan)

Multi-part interview of ‘a concerned Scottsboro City Employee’ ( ‘ ‘ indicates name redacted) during the last week of January 2016 (specific date and time removed). Names have been redacted, governmental political or appointed positions remain intact.

                                   Deep Throat - City of Scottsboro - Part 2

"Why is the mayor jealous? Why would he have the ‘HR Director and the Shop Foreman’ (names redacted) followed?" (Questions by informant)

Comment by Garry Morgan - Tax Payer (public) funds were utilized in a scheme to conduct illegal surveillance of city employees after duty hours due to the Mayor of Scottsboro's personal negligent actions. A police complaint for stalking was filed, there may have been an obstruction of justice action regarding this event and it should be investigated by an outside law enforcement agency. The Checks above are the actual checks utilized to pay a member of the Scottsboro Personnel Board, an unlicensed Private Investigator (State of Alabama requirement) conducting an investigations business in Scottsboro, for Melton Potter's apparent jealousy concerning a female city employee rejecting his sexual advances. This is an abuse of government funds and office, he broke the public trust. Unfortunately there is no will of the Scottsboro City Council or other elected officials locally to hold this political official accountable for his misbehavior, some on the city council seem to support him. A complaint has been filed with the Alabama Attorney General's Office regarding these actions and the failure to disclose or destroy public records.
photo credit, unknown internet source - Fair Use Rights for non-profit news reporting

Complete stories on the surveillance and mayors misbehavior, including "Deep Throat" Part 1 and legal actions filed in the Jackson County Circuit Court.

 The mayor had made some comments about ‘the Shop Foreman’ (name redacted) around us. Then the shop department head job came open. I knew the mayor and the ‘Street Department Head’(name redacted) wanted ‘another named candidate’ (name redacted). When I would get gas at the street department all the employees already knew ‘the named candidate’ (name redacted) was getting the job and it was said the mayor had already pre-interviewed him. ‘The named candidate’ (name redacted) told employees about it and everyone knew the ‘Street Department Head’ had been calling him. But I did not know for sure till the day I saw the ‘named candidate’ (name redacted) at city hall and that was way before the interviews.

I felt terrible for ‘the Shop Foreman’ (name redacted) because he did good work; I had seen him rebuild engines and other mechanical work. I thought, I can’t believe this is happening in Scottsboro, something is not right.

 Right after that we found out the mayor was having ‘the HR Director and Shop Foreman. (names redacted) followed. The mayor and ‘Department Head’ (names redacted) were excited to have got her, I thought this was strange and why was he openly talking about this? Then it was said the ‘HR Director’ (name redacted) was going to pay for straightening the situation out with the mayor's wife.

 It is a shame that the mayor is able to get away with this and hurt families the way he has. During that time I heard all kinds of rumors about ‘the HR Director and the shop foreman’ (names redacted). I witnessed ‘the Department Head’ (name redacted) and mayor enjoying it. It is crazy that an elected person can do all these things. I thought, how can the mayor demote someone over a lunch date?  But what can you do? If I had spoken up, I would be next on the list. Yep, this is what our jobs are like and what we have to put up with. 

End of Part 2 -“Deep Throat” (Informant), City of Scottsboro Employee Comes Forward 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

“Deep Throat” (Informant), City of Scottsboro Employee Comes Forward - Part 1 January 28, 2016

Scottsboro City Hall (photo by G Morgan)

"Deep Throat" - City of Scottsboro - Part 1
Multi-part interview of ‘a concerned Scottsboro City Employee’ ( ‘ ‘ indicates name redacted) during the last week of January 2016 (specific date and time removed). Names have been redacted, governmental political or appointed positions remain intact.

My lead off statement to informant: “‘You’ (first name redacted) had contacted me and asked if I could keep your name confidential for an interview, is that correct,” informant's reply, “yes.” My reply, ”This  interview is appreciated and your name will be kept confidential”

Comments to informant: “You stated on the phone that you had concerns about the mayor and events which have occurred regarding Scottsboro's Mayor, his treatment of city employees, and that you think the public should be made aware of "deceitful statements" from the mayor regarding political influences. Is that correct? ‘Yes.’ You also stated that you have a picture which you would like to show me and allow me to make a copy of the picture for publication on my blog, is that correct?” Informant stated “yes.” 

Lead-off statement: “Are you relaxed, can I get you a coke, coffee, water? Informant stated, “No Thanks, not now.” I asked: “Do you mind if I record this interview?” Informant stated, “That’s ok, but will you save the recording?” My reply was, “The recording is needed to make a transcript of the interview, is that ok?” Informant said “yes,” but ask, “Could you erase the tape after it is transcribed.” My reply, “sure I’ll do that, why do you ask this?” Informant stated, “not that I do not trust you, but I need to keep my job.” My reply, “That’s understandable, if you have some time stick around, I’ll transcribe this immediately and you can watch me erase the recording and you can check out what I have prepared for my blog’s article posting.” Informant said, “that’ll work.”

“Tell me what is on your mind, relax, let you thoughts flow, if I have a question I’ll ask you.”

I know ‘the Mayor’ (name redacted), I work for the City of Scottsboro.  Some may say "I am one of his buddies". I would like to give the public insight into what has really happened and I’ll probably be the next targeted employee, but I want to state some facts as I know them. There are many things that ain’t right.

I’ve decided to talk because what has happened to employees is wrong. This entire situation is wrong. It should have never happened. This week the Mayor made comments that all allegations are false and politically motivated by people running against him. I do not believe that’s true. As far as I know, the employees supported him, I used to support him, but not now

 I have heard this mess about our ‘HR Director’ (name redacted) and I knew her before she came to work for the city. I believe ‘she’ (name redacted) started here about 3 years ago. She has always been friendly, nice and helpful.

 I know two things happened within the first months ‘she’ (name redacted) came to the city.
(Hesitation, pause, I asked: What were the two things that happened which you remember, and are you speaking about ‘the HR Director’ (name redacted).)

Yes, ‘the HR Director’ (name redacted).
Picture of ‘HR Director’s’ breast area as provided by informant.

(1)   The 1st couple weeks ‘she’ (name redacted) had a picture taken of her by ‘a male department head’ (name redacted) while she was shopping at Home Depot. The picture was taken without her knowledge. The picture was of her breast area. ‘The Department head’ (name redacted) texted the picture around, it was a biggest boob contest. I do not want to say to ‘us’ (part redacted) but I will say I was texted the picture. I know ‘the HR director’ (name redacted) was told about it. I remember how upset ‘she’ (name redacted) was. I know ’she’ (name redacted) complained to the mayor about it. (Informant hands me a picture.)

Question to informant: “Is this the picture you wanted for me to copy?” Informant’s answer: “Yes.” (Picture above)

 (2) ‘The Mayors wife’ (name redacted) came to city hall one evening. ‘She’ (name redacted) asked the ‘HR Director’ (name redacted) if she was having an affair with her husband. There was a big fuss and discussion about this with my friends at work. I remember ‘the HR Director’ (name redacted) said she had no idea who the lady was or what his wife's name was.

The mayor brought over ‘a female employee’ (name redacted) from his previous city position, before he was mayor. What a mess that was, ‘the mayor’s wife’ (name redacted) went to ‘the female employee’ (name redacted) accusing her of stealing her husband. The police knew about this and so do others.

I know ‘the mayor's wife’ (name redacted) came back to city hall sometime toward the beginning of last year and harassed the ‘HR Director’ (name redacted) because she thought an affair was going on between the mayor and the ‘HR Director’ (name redacted).

I will never forget the mayor bragging about throwing cell phones at his wife because of the fights he gets into with her. 

I think we deserve to work without the mayor's personal problems affecting our work. Nobody wants to listen to stories he tells us about his home life, but we have to listen if we want to stay on his good side.

END of Part 1 - “Deep Throat” (Informant), City of Scottsboro Employee Comes Forward 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Is Google Really a Sweet Deal for Jackson County Alabama, or is it "Hemlock?" Update is needed - Transparency is Important!

Google Data Center in Douglas County Georgia .Fair Use for non-profit news reporting and commentary.

UPDATE: February 5, 2015 - Google’s director of global infrastructure explains why Google has planned its 14th data center — a $600 million capital investment — in rural north Alabama. 

Photo opportunities for politicians do not always mean a benefit for taxpayers. Governor Bentley at the Widows Creek site. Photo by State of Alabama, Fair-Use for non-profit news reporting and commentary.

There is a moral to this story - When you place secrecy and corporate Amerika before American taxpayers and transparent governance, it usually costs the taxpayers big bucks, often with a limited return.
Public TVA Photo Map of the Widows Creek "Data Center Site" Fair Use rights for non-profit news reporting and commentary.

Is the Google deal as sweet as we are being led to believe?

Let's look at some history involving TVA, Jackson County, Weissner Enterprises, Google and who knows who else, it is a secret deal. Sometimes secrecy is not such a good deal for those who have to pay for the secrecy and infra-structure, previous article on this blog: http://arklite.blogspot.com/2015/06/jackson-county-commission-june-22-2015.html

Hemlock poisoning, yes strange but true, Hemlock Semi-conductors, Clarksville, Tn. New site of Google - http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2015/12/21/tennessee-silcon-plant-may-become-google-data-center/  Coincidence, the company dies before it starts and it is named Hemlock, hmmm? Think about this, 2 data centers in the TVA area?

Meanwhile back at the Jackson County Google ranch, some speculation and thoughts. The county entered into a secret agreement with Weissner Enterprises, LLC, the shell company representing Google, in what had to be infra-structure improvements. The 1% tax deal died, has the Google deal died with it or do I see a county bond is sue on the horizon?  Soon after the 1% county tax referendum died, Google announced the Hemlock deal up in Clarksville, Tn. Google would have never considered this area if not for the high speed fiber optics installed by the North Alabama Electric Co-op.

Let's pay attention to some other factors, employment by Google. Google is one of the largest importers of foreign workers - H-1B Visa program, "“Over the years the program has become a government-assisted way for employers to bring in cheaper foreign labor...Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama said American schools are graduating twice as many students specializing in science, technology, engineering and math than there are jobs to fill in those specialties...“It has nothing to do with trying to find the best and brightest,” Sessions said of the H-1B visa program’s proposed expansion."   http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2015/03/18/google-eric-schmidt-congress-h-1b-visa-economy-immigration-tech-workers/

It is all about cheap labor, free property, free infra-structure. All costing the tax-payers, that includes local taxpayers, big expenses. It is time for some transparency on this, secrecy can only go so far. Propaganda is a player in this, as is in Clarksville, Tn. This is not about providing hundreds, even ten local jobs, nor is it about increasing taxes for the area as Google will receive numerous tax benefits at the expense of Jackson County residents. There has to be a known, stated benefit for the citizens of Jackson County, not just freebies for one of the largest corporations in the world.

Money does not grow on trees, politicians and their corporate masters cannot continue to pick us dry. Photo Art by "ColoradoPeakPolitics.com" Fair Use for non-profit news and commentary.

Confidentiality is important in these deals, but there is a limit.  Particularly when it will cost the local taxpayers millions of dollars and increase debt. Secret deals and confidential transactions at citizens expense is no substitute for transparency and good governance. It is the taxpayers who will pay the bill.
I hope all works out for everyone involved in the Google deal. Just remember politicians and appointed officials of Alabama, Jackson County and local municipalities, you work for us the people, not a corporation, you might want to think about giving citizens an update.
See the update at the top.of the page.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Scottsboro State of the City Address by Mayor Melton Potter - January 26, 2016

Scottsboro Mayor Melton Potter delivers the State of the City Address (photos by G. Morgan)

This report is very unfortunate, but it must be reported as Ms. Potter has demonstrated similar conduct in city hall (according to reports from female and male employees) making accusations that "women are out to steal her man" - this conduct in the work place creates a hostile work environment..

Before the State of the City Address occured Ms. Cathy Potter, the Mayors wife, approached me in public, shook my hand and stated, "I do not appreciate you passing on lies about my family." My. reply to Ms. Potter was this, " You have it wrong, I have stated no lies about your family and I do not appreciate your comment." Her reply, I hope your right." I take this as an attempt at intimidation and this is not the first attempt at intimidation pointed at me to stop my public reporting on issues within the City of Scottsboro involving Mayor Potter and others. I have been threatened, called names and defamed. I have filed police reports for harassing communications. 

Before my video of Mayor Potters's presentation. Here is the link to my blog postings regarding the law suit filed against Potter, the illegal surveillance action initiated by Potter against City employees and the sexual harassment involving Potter and other senior officials within the City of Scottsboro. The surveillance activity also involves stalking of City Employees by unlicensed private investigators hired by Potter utilizing city funds. That is not including the stalking and harassment carried forth against me for the past 8 years, police reports filed. For you Ms. Potter, or anyone else, these are the news stories: http://arklite.blogspot.com/search/label/Surveillance


Mayors Closing Remarks Video

Scottsboro City Council January 25, 2016 Work Session and Regular Session

Scottsboro City Hall (photo by G. Morgan)

(click on image for an expanded view)



                         REGULAR SESSION AGENDA


Friday, January 22, 2016

January 21, 2016 Scottsboro Board of Education Work Session in Multiple Part Presentations - Featuring - Thar be Sum Misconstru'n Go'n on Heear

On January 21, 2016 the Scottsboro Board of Education held a two and a half hour work session. My Presentation will consist of 4 segments, it is not the entire meeting. Part 1 is actually the end but an interesting part of the meeting which consists of the Alabama Association of School Board's (AASB) recommendation to end Board Member Comments on the Board's Agenda.
Scottsboro Board of Education President Daryl Eustice, Esq. (photo by G. Morgan)

 This writer certainly appreciated the Board President, Scottsboro Attorney Daryl Eustice comments regarding not legislating common sense, you can't do it. Not allowing elected official comments as part of a public bodies agenda runs a risk of squashing expressions of concern and minority positions on issues.

The AASB Attorney, Jane Williams, was contacted, she was not available according to the Association's Secretary; I left a voice mail regarding my questions on their position and requested comments on this matter; however, no one returned my call. Link to the AASB -  http://www.alabamaschoolboards.org/

Dr. Sandra Spivey, Superintendent Scottsboro School System

Mr. John Esslinger, Board Member (photo by G. Morgan)

Ms. Hollie Thompson, Board Member (photo by G. Morgan)

Dr. Judy McCrary Board Member (photo by G. Morgan)

Member Absent Mrs. Julie Gentry
Scottsboro Board of Education File Photo (Fair Use for Non-Profit News Reporting)

Click on image for an expanded view.

VIDEO Part 3

VIDEO Part 2

VIDEO Part 1

VIDEO Short Segment, "Misconstru'n Go'n On"

Other Videos Processing

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Scottsboro City Council Meeting, Regular Session January 11, 2016

Monday was a short meeting of the Scottsboro City Council prior to the University of Alabama and Clemson University National College Football Championship Game. Final score - Alabama over Clemson  45 to 40.



Monday, January 11, 2016

Jackson County Commission Regular Session January 11, 2016

Short Session of the Jackson county Commission, one agenda item regarding the hiring of 6 temporary workers for the Public Works Department. The temporary workers will be utilized to help to improve county road conditions.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Scottsboro City Council Work Session - Citizen Presentation "Council Agenda Issue - A Dead Issue Is Not Dead if it Involves Millions of Dollars in Bonds & Debt," Jan. 4, 2016

Scottsboro City Hall, 316 South Broad Street, Scottsboro, Alabama (photo by G. Morgan)

Click on image for an expanded view.

Citizen Presentation with letter to the Scottsboro City Council President, Patrick Stewart -  "Council Agenda Issue - A Dead Issue Is Not Dead if it Involves Millions of Dollars in Bonds & Debt."
The City Attorney, Steve Kennamer, did not agree with my position on the issue.

Click on image for an expanded view.

NOTE Roberts Rules Article X, Chapter 58-Chair or President (regarding committees): "The by-laws sometimes state that the president shall appoint all committees. In such case the assembly may authorize committees, but cannot appoint or nominate them. The president, however, cannot appoint any committees except those authorized by the by-laws or by a vote of the assembly. Sometimes the by-laws make the president ex-officio a member of every committee. Where this is done he has the rights of other members of the committees but not the obligation to attend every committee meeting."

The question is this - What is the Scottsboro City Council Rules of Order regarding the appointment of Committees? May the committee be appointed out of a dead issue? May the Chair appoint a committee at any time regardless of the council's agenda, and must a committee be approved by a vote of the Council?

It was stated that the City Council Rules of Order will be posted to the city's web site. As of this writing the rules are not posted.

Regardless, it is my position that a point of order should have been called by a council member when the issue continued with no motion placed forward. The council President should have sufficient knowledge of rules of order to conduct meetings without constant referral to the city attorney. This situation was a deviation from the meeting format and not in accord with normal meeting decorum. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Jackson County Commission Work Session - Citizen Input on Drug Testing Program - Commendable Transparency From Commissioner Ledwell, January 4, 2016

Jackson County Commission in session, Court House Board Room. (Photo by G. Morgan)



Memorandum for the Jackson County Commission Regarding Employee Drug Testing
                              (click on image for an expanded view)
Excerpts from the Code of Alabama, 25-5-335 regarding employee drug testing.
(click on image for an expanded view)

Conclusion: Jackson County's Employee Drug Testing Program does not meet the requirement of the Code of Alabama as stipulated in 25-5-335

Commendable Transparency from Jackson County District 4 Commissioner Stacey Ledwell.
UPDATE: Jan 5, 2015 - I had received a call from a local concerned citizen about a County Commissioner, Mr. Stacey Ledwell, who is also a business owner, Mr. Rooter, a local plumbing service. Mr. Ledwell had sold a backhoe to the Cumberland Mountain Water Authority via a sealed bid process. 

I had discussed the concern with Mr. Ledwell last week and he assured me everything was accomplished in accordance with the law. Yesterday, prior to the County Commission meeting, Mr. Ledwell provided me with his bid submission document, attached below, and an Attorney General's Opinion regarding The Cumberland Mountain Water Authority's opening a bidding process for a backhoe. Alabama AG's Opinion 2016-09 Link: http://www.ago.state.al.us/opinions/pdf/2016-009.pdf

The invitation for bid was published in the November 25th 2015 edition of the Daily Sentinel on page 9 as an Invitation by The Cumberland Mountain Water Authority - "Taking Sealed Bids." Mr. Ledwell's bid entered via the sealed bid process, as indicated, was $42,000.00 which was the low bid which met bidding specifications.

Commissioner Ledwell's transparency about this issue is commendable and is appreciated that he provided the documents which demonstrates his concern for doing what is right regarding open, transparent government. I do not think there is any conflict of interest as the Cumberland Mountain Water Authority is a separate corporate entity of Jackson County who has a separate Board of Directors managing the affairs of the water authority.
Click on image for an expanded view.