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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Misapplication of Public Policy Involving Public Officials - Demolition by City Government on Private Property Which Increases Property Value of a Public Official's Relative

House demolished by the City of Scottsboro due to being an unsafe structure located at approximately 602 E. Willow St., Scottsboro, Al. (Google Earth photo 2014, Fair-Use rights for non-profit news reporting)

UPDATE - March 22, 2016 - Cost List of Demolition of Homes in Alabama and across the nation are listed. For this area the cost are listed for a similar structure's cost runs from $5500 -  $7500.00. That does not include leveling the property, reseeding and mowing for half a year. Cost estimates do not consider disposal of asbestos containing shingles or other hazardous materials such as lead pipe. Utilizing the demolition list estimates, this property's demolition and reconditioning would be near $12,000 for this area. 

Misapplication of Public Policy and Law by Scottsboro City Officials - Abatement of Public Nuisances on Private Property by Demolition or Repair, not in accordance with the laws of the State of Alabama Regarding 11-53B MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY TO REPAIR OR DEMOLISH UNSAFE STRUCTURES. Which may be found at  http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/coatoc.htm

Results of the Public Nuisance, Unsafe Structure file inspection regarding the Gross property located at approximately 602 E. Willow St., Scottsboro, Al..
1) When viewing the file the appropriate Alabama Code citation was misstated, 11-53A was utilized in part, that is improper according to the City Attorney as the City of Scottsboro is not a Class 5, 6 or 8 municipality. It is a class 7 in accordance with the 1970 census which the law is based on.
2) There was no itemized list of the property demolition cost, i.e. man hours spent, fuel used, hauling cost to land fill, equipment usage, etc.
3) There was no fixation of cost per resolution of the City Council/governing body as required by law - COA 11-53B-5.
4) There was a city cash register receipt of $3,150.00 but no indication of a check copy.
5) As stated in the City Council meeting the Mayor sent Councilman Smith to Mrs. Margaret Gross in secret, mother of the property owner, and a public official as appointed by Mr. Smith to the Electric Power Board, at Hardees, where they eat breakfast together, outside of the legal process, and offered city equipment, manpower, and resources to her for the demolition of an unsafe house on her property, the demolition increased the property's value.
6) The house which was demolished was an old structure with what appeared to be asbestos containing shingles, there was no test to determine if asbestos was present in the structure.

It is my opinion that some public officials within the City of Scottsboro are attempting to cover up this possible ethics violation and misapplication of public policy and law.

MY THOUGHTS - What a deal, if you're a city official's friend plus public official, you get your unsafe house demolished, hazardous materials disposed, lot cleared, leveled, reseeded and maintained for $3150.00, thus increasing the private citizens property value many times over. Such honest political leaders we have, NOT. Does the city apply this special treatment fairly to everyone as the mayor claims? My inquiries reveal the answer to be NO. This abuse of taxpayer resources may be an ethics violation, reference - "Section 36-25-5 "d) No person shall solicit a public official or public employee to use or cause to be used equipment, facilities, time, materials, human labor, or other public property for such person's private benefit or business benefit, which would materially affect his or her financial interest, except as otherwise provided by law."

All of this came to light when I received a call about a Scottsboro Mowing Crew at the property of Mrs. Gross's daughter on East Willow Street. This resulted in me asking questions about the property and why was city equipment being utilized for the benefit of private citizens. The City council President stated this was all unintentional, as Mrs. Gross said, "I guess this was an accident." referring to the mowing crew taking care of the private property.

BOTTOM LINE - The City of Scottsboro should not be involved in the demolition, repair, or mowing of private property. Repair or demolition of private property is the responsibility of the property owner. If repair or demolition becomes necessary to protect the public from a public nuisance then the work should be contracted out and the city utilize the law to recover costs.

The excuse according to the Mayor, "We do this all of the time is an example of non-accountable political official's excuses. It is my observations the Mayor is not being truthful. Council Member Keith Smith's personal attack on me for bringing this issue forward is a further example of non-accountable political officials, it is Smith who met in secret with Mrs Gross to broker the deal in conjunction with the mayor to purposefully increase the property value of the Gross property. The statement of Smith, "She (meaning Margaret Gross, public official and mother of property owner) didn't come to us we went to her," is remarkable. It demonstrates the extent some political officials in Scottsboro will go to deceive the public and benefit friends and the wealthy while having a lack luster attitude toward the poor and average citizens in Scottsboro, Alabama.

My reporting to the City Council of inappropriate application of law and possible ethics violations has resulted in harassment and false accusations from Council Member Keith Smith when bringing these issues forward. Harassment appears to be an unprofessional, unethical policy practice of city officials. This misconduct trend has carried forth into the application of management policy as it has been applied to the employees of the City of Scottsboro, Alabama. This is indicative of a wider problem involving non-professional conduct and misbehavior of elected and appointed city officials which includes sexual discrimination, retaliatory conduct and harassment.

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