Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.|
Maintenance employee Wayne Kindley shows how his keys no longer work on the doors to Revenue Commissioner Amanda Scott's office in the Morgan County Courthouse. The locks were changed Friday.
E-mail scandal: Scott changes locks on office
By Sheryl Marsh
Morgan County Chairman Pro Tem Stacy George said he would call a special commission meeting to remove locks that Revenue Commissioner Amanda Scott had changed to her office Friday.
The lock change came a day after Scott locked her computer hard drive in a vault to keep a computer expert from copying it for examination. The commission unanimously voted to look at hard drives on county computers after a department head was fired for sending racy e-mail to Chairman John Glasscock who forwarded it to Mayor Don Kyle.
The mayor said he told Glasscock not to send him any more.
Someone leaked the e-mail to WHNTV 19. That set in motion the current probe.
The commission is attempting to compare hard drives to the main server to ensure no one has erased information. Commissioners also want to know if the main server was compromised.
County Engineer Greg Bodley, who is also head of maintenance, notified George on Friday that Scott had changed the locks.
Wayne Lindley, maintenance supervisor, said he saw a locksmith at Scott's office.
"I just happened to be passing by and saw him, and he told me he was changing the locks," said Lindley. "I was able to get the old ones from him. I called the boss (Bodley) and told him that we would not be able to get into the office."
An employee in the County Commission office called the locksmith company and learned that the county's cost for changing the locks was $892.
On Thursday, Scott would not allow access to her computer, which she said was locked in her vault. She said she was protecting personal information such as credit card numbers of taxpayers. A revenue office employee, however, said they never see credit card numbers because you can only pay with a credit card online, not at the office. The employee said a third-party company handles credit card transactions.
A Daily employee attempted to pay property tax with a credit card at Scott's office Friday and was told the office did not accept credit cards.
George said Scott's lock change altered public property without permission and the commission must take action.
"It's obvious she's out of control and we have to do something," said George. "She is deliberately stalling the investigation, and we must do everything possible to get the county's equipment from her and to show her that she doesn't own this public building."
Scott faxed answers to questions Daily reporters left at her office Friday.
She said she is authorized to change locks to her office and that she did so to prevent unauthorized entry to her office.
A Hoover police officer is the computer specialist performing forensic examination of the county hard drives.
The specialist copied all elected officials' hard drives except those of Scott, Sheriff Greg Bartlett and Probate Judge Bobby Day, who said he was protecting non-public records such as adoptions. Day said he did not object to scrutiny of his office on the main server.
Bartlett told George and the specialist that they could not have his or any of his employees' hard drives, nor could they review their information on the county's main server, which is at the courthouse.
District 3 Commissioner Kevin Murphy said he plans to join George to take action over Scott changing locks.
"I don't believe she has the authority to do that because the commission is in charge of county facilities," said Murphy. "It sounds like somebody is paranoid to me."
Other commissioners were at a conference out of town Friday and could not be reached for comment. George said he would ask for a special meeting to deal with the computer issues involving Scott and Bartlett.
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