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Morgan may vote on court order to get hard drives

By Sheryl Marsh 340-2437

There should be more talk and possibly voting on issues involving the courthouse e-mail scandal at today's Morgan County Commission work session and meeting.

The work session begins at 9:30 a.m., and the meeting will follow.

One question is whether investigators will be able to examine the hard drives of Sheriff Greg Bartlett and Revenue Commissioner Amanda Scott. They have denied access to their computers, saying they were protecting sensitive information.

Scott locked her hard drive in a vault and changed the locks on her office doors. Bartlett said he is not giving up his hard drive and sent a letter saying that no one is to even look at his e-mails or those of his employees on the county server.

A computer specialist said last week that he needs the hard drives for the investigation because some officials and employees may have bypassed the county's main server by using Web mail accounts through America Online. The specialist said e-mails sent through AOL would not register on the county server.

An unscientific online poll by The Daily showed that 65.3 percent of the people who responded want to know what's on the hard drives. There were 344 yes votes out of 527.

District 4 Commissioner Stacy George said he plans to call for a vote today to seek a court order to force Scott and Bartlett to surrender the county's computer equipment.

"It's not fair to the taxpayers for them to harbor their equipment," said George. "I've had people express their displeasure about this situation and the fact that the commission has not moved to take action about getting the equipment or dealing with Ms. Scott for changing the locks on the public facility."

As chairman pro tem, George is in charge of proceedings involving the e-mail investigation because of Chairman John Glasscock's involvement.

The county's ex-human resources director sent Glasscock a sexually charged e-mail, and he forwarded it to Decatur Mayor Don Kyle, who said he told the chairman not to send another.

The commission voted unanimously to hire a Huntsville law firm to probe county e-mails of elected officials, political appointees and department heads.

Like all commission meetings, today's work session and meeting, which will be on the fifth floor of the courthouse, are open to the public.

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