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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25, 2007
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Morgan fence dispute settled
Commissioners to divide fencing from old inmate yard

By Sheryl Marsh
smarsh@decaturdaily.com 340-2437

The Morgan County Commission settled a dispute over a chain link fence by voting to divide it between District 1 Commissioner Jeff Clark and District 4 Commissioner Stacy George.

The fencing came from the former inmate recreation yard across from the old jail, and Clark and George argued about its division.

Clark said someone donated the fencing to the late Sheriff Steve Crabbe for the recreation yard and that Sheriff Greg Bartlett inherited it. Clark said Bartlett told him he could have the fencing and that George could have whatever Clark did not want. An employee of the sheriff and county inmates removed the fencing from the yard Friday to clear the area for a parking lot.

George said he volunteered weeks ago to remove the fencing and at that time the sheriff told him he could have the fencing.

"I volunteered to take it down, and John Glasscock (commission chairman) said that would be fine," George said. "The sheriff said he wanted the razor wire off the top and when he got it, I could go get the fencing."

George said the fencing dispute started Friday.

"I saw activity over there, so I asked the sheriff what was going on, and he said I would have to see Jeff about the fence, that he had worked out a deal with Jeff," said George.

Bartlett did not return a phone call for comment.

Clark said George contacted him and threatened legal action.

"He didn't ask me for it," Clark said of George. "He wasn't polite about it. He said he'd see me in court if he didn't get exactly 125 feet."

George had an item put on Tuesday's meeting agenda asking the commission to approve halving 250 feet of fencing between the two. He asked commissioners to give Clark 13 poles and George 12 poles.

The commission approved the request. Clark voted no.

Before voting, Clark asked to table the issue and let County Attorney Bill Shinn research to determine if the fencing belonged to the sheriff. District 3 Commissioner Kevin Murphy said he believed that the county owned the fencing because it was affixed to county property. Murphy asked Shinn to give an immediate opinion.

Shinn said without researching laws, it's his belief that the commission is in control of all county property, including the "brand new" jail, although the sheriff is in charge of operating it. Shinn said the sheriff has no ownership of any property given to the county.

George and Clark said they were not going to argue further over the fencing.

George said his foreman will pick up his part of the fencing from Clark's county shop.

Clark said he wouldn't resist. Clark said he plans to use his fencing to complete a batting cage at North Park and secure an area around his shop.

George said he plans to build batting cages for Huskey Park in his district.

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