"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."


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Is the City of Scottsboro Meeting Legal Requirements of Property Abatement? Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Retaliation - Creation of a Hostile Work Environment

Edited & Updated March 16, 2016, Corrections Below

Creation of a hostile work environment. Presentation to the Scottsboro City Council, video below and this personal document memo of my presentation.

March 14, 2015
From: Garry Morgan
To: Scottsboro City Council and Mayor

Everything I am about to relay to you has been provided to me by employees within the City of Scottsboro, Alabama.

1)      It has been my observation due to sufficient evidence presented to me that elected officials of the City of Scottsboro have created a hostile work environment by actively discriminating, retaliating and harassing city employees of the City of Scottsboro. The discrimination has been based on overt attacks relating to gender. There have been numerous instances brought to my attention by Scottsboro City Employees about these acts.
2)      An unlicensed private investigator/personnel board member was hired by the City of Scottsboro to stalk city employees in the attempt to catch them in some nefarious deed. There was no nefarious deed but that did not stop rumors from circulating originating from Scottsboro City Officials about untruthful relationships between employees after duty hours. The private investigator was paid money from the accounts of the City of Scottsboro, tax payer money, I had requested copies documents titled report of investigation and /or investigative summaries. These reports were not a restricted law enforcement file. The officials of the city of Scottsboro refused production of those unrestricted documents. A violation of the Alabama public records disclosure law. A State Attorney General complaint has been filed.
3)      It is my opinion the photographing of city employees and the subsequent harassment by elected and appointed officials violates the laws of this state. Namely aggravated stalking because a sexual advance was denied; that multiple official personnel participated in this unethical and inappropriate behavior. Photographs and untruthful statements were then circulated based on the unethical/improper report of investigation to those in city hall who had no business nor reason to be involved in the mayors ordered improper investigation.
4)      Informants within the City of Scottsboro have provided me with the photographs and now I realize why you did not want the photographs released nor the documents related to the very unprofessional, questionable probable untruthful report. It demonstrates nothing except the unprofessional conduct of those who schemed to harass, slander and retaliate against a female employee who rebuked the sexual advances of a city official.
5)      But this is not all, the same employee was subject to further harassment by city officials by having pictures of her breast area shown around city hall.
6)      The employee was suspended in a retaliatory action, pay was lost. To avoid legal action the female employees pay was reinstated and her attorney fees paid without the approval of the city council. It is my belief that this act was unethical, that the city council should have met in an executive session to discuss the matter and returned for a vote, This did not happen
7)      Another employees has been subjected to harassment and discriminatory action, this employee has not been made whole again and is involved in a legal action with the Mayor of Scottsboro as a defendant. This employee should have been made whole. Apparently pride and poor judgement has stood in the way of good sense and better judgement.
8)   It has come to my attention that some citizens are having their lawns manicured, their dilapidated property demolished at the citizens of Scottsboro expense. The area of concern is located just west of Byrds Pawn Shop and in between the Century House. What is the authorization for this lawn care of the “taxpayers dime?” Apparently this has been occurring for at least 1 and ½ years. Others in the city have reported they cannot get their limbs or trees damaged by wind picked up but apparently there are special people who receive full service treatment. Can someone explain?

Video of lawn care by city employees. Photos by Google Earth of Abated Property

Issue of Property Demolition Fixation of costs as described by the  Code of Alabama, one of two choices, regarding fixation of costs both are similar in structure.

1st choice - Pertaining to Class 6 Municipalities, Scottsboro is a Class 7 Municipality because in 1970 Scottsboro was not at the same population of today. Welcome to the crazy State of Confusion we call Alabama. The city classification requirement is based on the census population of 1970, not the current population. "Section 11-40-12 Classification of municipalities. (a) There are hereby established eight classes of municipalities based on the population as certified by the 1970 federal decennial census..." If todays census data was utilized Scottsboro would be a class 6 municipality. 46 year old, outdated law having detrimental effects on government today.

Section 11-53A-4 (Reference, does not apply to Scottsboro - unfortunately upon review of the city's demolition and abatement file of this property, reference was made regarding authorizations regarding this property's abatement and demolition actions.)

Adoption of resolution fixing costs of removal of unsafe building or structure; fixing of costs to constitute special assessment and lien against property; notice and filing of resolution.

Upon demolition and removal of a building or structure, the board shall make a report to the governing body of the cost. The governing body shall adopt a resolution fixing the costs which it finds were reasonably incurred in the demolition and removal and assess the costs against the property. The proceeds of any monies received from the sale of salvaged materials from the building or structure shall be used or applied against the cost of the demolition and removal. Any person, firm, or corporation having an interest in the property may be heard at the meeting concerning any objection he or she may have to the fixing of the costs. The city clerk shall give not less than 15 days' notice of the meeting at which the fixing of the costs are to be considered by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the city. The fixing of costs by the governing body shall constitute a special assessment against the lot or lots, parcel, or parcels of land upon which the building or structure was located, and shall constitute a lien on the property for the amount of the assessment. The lien shall be superior to all other liens on the property except prior recorded mortgages and other prior recorded security interests and liens for taxes, and shall continue in force until paid. The city clerk shall mail a certified copy of the resolution by registered or certified mail to the person last assessed for ad valorem taxes, and a certified copy of the resolution shall be published in the manner and as prescribed for the publication of municipal ordinances. A certified copy of the resolution shall also be filed in the office of the judge of probate of the county in which the city is situated.
(Acts 1992, No. 92-572, p. 1182, §4.)

Applicable law Section 11-53B-5 (also 11-40-30 thru 36 which is similar in requirements.)

Fixing of costs.

Upon demolition or repair of the building or structure, the appropriate city official shall make a report to the governing body of the cost thereof, and the governing body shall adopt a resolution fixing the costs which it finds were reasonably incurred in the demolition or repair and assessing the same against the property; provided, however, the proceeds of any moneys received from the sale of salvaged materials from the building or structure shall be used or applied against the cost of the demolition; and provided further, that any person, firm, or corporation having an interest in the property may be heard at the meeting as to any objection he or she may have to the fixing of such costs or the amounts thereof. The clerk of the municipality shall give notice of the meeting at which the fixing of the costs is to be considered by first-class mail to all entities having an interest in the property whose address and interest is determined from the tax assessor's records on the property or as otherwise known to the clerk. The fixing of the costs by the governing body shall constitute an assessment against the lot or lots, parcel or parcels of land upon which the building or structure was located, and as made and confirmed shall constitute a lien on the property for the amount of the assessment ("the final assessment"). The lien shall be superior to all other liens on the property except liens for taxes, and except for mortgages recorded prior to the creation of the lien for the assessment, and shall continue in force until paid. A certified copy of the resolution fixing the final assessment shall also be recorded in the office of the judge of probate of the county in which the municipality is situated.
(Act 2002-522, p. 1355, §5.)
Section 11-53B-5 Fixing the costs apparently applies to Scottsboro since the City's classification was decided in 1970, 46 years out of date.

There appears to be 4 steps in the demolition process. - 1) Property is declared unsafe, needs to be demolished. 2) Demolition or repair takes place. 3) Governing Body, which is city council, who has control over budget and financial resources, fixes the price of the demolition or repair. 4) City Clerk shall post notice.   Those are the steps which fit the City of Scottsboro. I have never heard the governing body of our city fixing the price of demolition.

 Mr. Smith admits in the video he and the Mayor made decisions on the demolition of the Gross property by offering choices which were not up to them to make in accordance with the laws of the state. Eating breakfast with his friend, Ms. Gross, is not an excuse to circumvent law. A question must be asked, how many other instances of preferential treatment have been given which are undisclosed due to improper and unfair application of law and policy. How much is this preferential treatment to friends or family costing the taxpayers. Mr. Smith and the Mayor may attempt to create as much subterfuge and call me a liar as many times as he wants. It will not stop me,  since I ran against him for public office I have been threatened, harassed and intimidated, for 8 years.

Smith's petty accusations will not stop me from supporting Sunshine/Open Government and Accountable Government. Go ahead Ms. Gross, Smith and Potter, intimidate away, all appointed or elected officials I might add.

The good people of Scottsboro deserve accountable government, not secret backroom deals benefiting individuals not the taxpayers. 

Citizens 8 Characteristics of Good Governance (Fair Use Rights for non-profit news reporting from Global Development Research Center)


Jenni Carter said...

Some intelligent people thought your presentation was comical. I did not. Those in this community, that live their lives through hard work, and are morally sound, should feel honored to have you watching, and reporting, on what our local government is up to. Due to the federal Freedom of Information Act, your diligence is important.
Soon, there will be a court case involving our mayor. Much more information will be disclosed. This information will come forward due to subpoena, right hand raised, in front of judge, jury, and the public. I have a feeling that when this happens there will be less smirking/smiling happening at city council meetings/work sessions.
"Transparency means that something can be seen through. When we talk about transparency in government, we mean that citizens must be able to "see through" its workings, to know exactly what goes on when public officials transact public business. Government that is not transparent is more prone to corruption and undue influence because there is no public oversight of decision making."
(Quote from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics program in Government Ethics by Senior Fellow Judy Nadler and Communications Director Miriam Schulman. The Center provides training in local government ethics for public officials.)

Garry said...

Thenk you Jenni. It is my belief that it is a mistake to elect long time political appointees to elected office in the same jurisdiction which they were appointed officials. The people have received what they voted for. In the case of Melton Potter and Keith Smith, police chief for many, many years, what the citizens have received are corrupted, egotistical public officials who will lie about anyone who challenges them for their actions. Smith accuses me of writting lies, I do not write lies. I may make an unintentional error because of misinformation, if so I'll correct it. However, all information is important. Everything I have written about regarding Scottsboro City Government has came from Scottsboro city Employees or direct observations and video of events.

Mr. Smith, in my opinion is an egotist who has built years of favors and actions which benefit him and select groups of people who are wealthy and what I call elitist within the community. It is my opinion he does not represent all of the people fairly and that he has supported harassment and retaliatory actions within City Government.

He asked me to help with his son regarding Court Referral and Community Corrections, as he doesn't agree with their actions, but yet when I asked him to provide me with a time line of events, he would not. He is more concerned with his political career than his family.

He may not like what I say about him and Potter, if he doesn't, he needs to move on and enjoy his retirement instead of continuously fulfilling his egotistical desires. This does not mean I disagree with all of his actions as a city council person. I agree with many of his decisions. However, there are some that I don't agree. Unfortunately he and others do not like the exposure when there is disagreement. They also do not like it when people stand up and bring issues forward into the spotlight.

Smith accuses me of destroying people's lives, bull-crap, talking about lies, there is one right there. Potter has destroyed his own life and that of others, but yet Smith has the gaul to blame that on me. He can't stand it when the political elite, including him, are exposed for what he has done. Smith, Potter and others are supportive of what I call mushroomitis, feeding people crap and keeping them in the dark.

Anonymous said...

The city is in direct competion with companies that do this same work. Only they have to buy a license from the city and still do not get a chance to bid on these projects.Some thing is bad wrong with this picture. We have to meet all the guide lines of safe removal of asbestos and LEAD PAINT.

Anonymous said...

Ask the Head of the Sanitation Department why everyone else that brings asbestos to landfill has to have them double wrapped in poly. They also can not be mixed with other demolition debris. The City Departments seem to have a double standard that goes their way all the time. The Mayor has to back the Department Heads up or else the rules would fit everyone.