28 August 2021

Continuing Drama w/ the Newton BOC: Potential Power Play in re In-House County Attorney Hire?

 By MB McCart, Ed. 

Howdy, Folks & we sure hope this post finds you well. 

Going back almost 15 years - back when Bobby Sigman famously dropped that huge stack of Wm Thomas "Tommy" Craig invoices on the table in the Historic Covington Courthouse - there has been a major clamoring for getting rid of outside legal counsel & saving money by moving to an in-house legal department (and really it goes back over two decades). 

Well, finally, after such a long time & so much money wasted, that has finally become a reality for the home county. 

That's the good news. 

The bad news, per a source w/ direct, inside knowledge, is as follows: 

You  may have already figured out that the short term contract offered to Megan Martin to be our county attorney is not a genuine offer made in good faith. A six month contract is out of the question for an experienced professional who has been working in this very position for 5 years. Her competency is well established so there is no valid reason to test her further with a short term employment offer.  It seems unlikely that Ms. Martin will accept such a questionable contract. Why would she leave the Jarrard and Davis firm for a short term contract with an unstable county  government?

So, what's the real story?  The three BOC members that nixed a genuine contract for the short term one in order to eventually hire someone else. As you know, Sanders has an ongoing conflict with Ms. Martin over the cease and desist order.  
Sanders, Henderson and Mason's  goal is to hire an African-American attorney with little concern about who would best serve the county. If experience and competency are the primary requirements, Ms. Martin is the best candidate and would be offered a typical long term contract with annual evaluations. The county attorney position is the first one they want to replace with a minority person.  As I understand it, the county manager and development services director are also on their list to be replaced.

Commissioners Mason, Henderson and Sanders need to be thoroughly questioned about their real motive in making this sham offer to Ms. Martin...

...[this is a] bad faith offer to Megan Martin. If we don't protest this kind of behavior by our democrat BOC members, we can get ready for more of the same from them. 

Megan Martin
By many accounts a keen legal mind & a very good person

Starting up an in-house legal department - complete w/ having to staff it - on just a 6-month contract? That is such a bad move AND look for Newton Co. It seems pretty obvious that none of these Commissioners have the business background or experience to make decisions such as these & that's really just too bad. 

Also, according to multiple folks I've talked w/, at least a part of this comes down to old-fashioned racism - that these members of the BOC simply don't like Ms. Martin's skin color

But more disturbing than all of that is this: 

According to one direct, inside source. A member of Alana Sanders inner circle (armed w/ confidential personnel information) reached out to Jarrard & Davis to tell them that Ms. Martin had applied to be the Newton Co. Attorney which led to major problems & likely led to this 3-person BOC majority knowing they had some leverage. 

If this is true - which I very much think it is -  I think it's absolutely despicable. Power for power's sake & to hell w/ everything else (and being racist as well). If this is indeed the case, then Commissioner Sanders is clearly guilty of a major ethics violation. 

Just beyond the pale... 

Yours Sadly & Angrily, 

MB McCart