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Official’s travel
in question

Morgan’s Nix claims $2,026 for mileage, refuses to answer questions about business trips

By Sheryl Marsh
smarsh@decaturdaily.com · 340-2437

Morgan County Community Corrections Director Alison Nix received $2,026.35 for mileage over a six-month span and when questioned about a trip for which state employees found no record, she stopped talking.

She called her attorney John Mays, who she said told her to refer all questions about the travel to the county’s attorney, Bill Shinn.

Mays said that advice was concerning a question she had about public records, not about her travel.

The $2,026.35 is for 12 travel requisitions for trips out of town. Of that amount, $558.14 for five trips is disputed by people who say Nix did not attend meetings. Three other requisitions totaling $552.60 were not specific enough to be verified.

The Daily attempted to question Nix about 12 requisitions she submitted to the County Commission office for mileage payment.

Nix received three $184.20 payments in May for trips to Montgomery. On two of those forms she wrote “mileage to Montgomery,” without any explanation about the trips. She wrote the same on a trip she said she made to Montgomery on April 27.

She said Thursday that the trips were for community corrections.

“Anything I’ve gone for is for training or to a facility or something of that nature,” Nix said, as she looked through travel requisitions that The Daily showed her.

Another trip was to Julia Tutwiler Prison on July 23. Nix claimed $167.62 for mileage.

Brian Corbett, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections, said Thursday that staff at the prison had not found a report of that visit.

“Preliminarily, they told me they didn’t have a record of Ms. Nix visiting on July 23,” Corbett said. “I am asking them to double check to see if they have visits from her on any other dates.”

Any individual who visits a state prison has to sign in.

Nix said Thursday, as indicated on her travel document, that she had gone to the women’s prison to visit an inmate regarding the corrections program.

When The Daily told her about Corbett’s comment, she got silent. When asked why there was no record, Nix said, “I don’t know.”

Then, she started dialing her cell phone. Next she went into another room and when she came back she stopped the interview.

“I’m not trying to be rude, but my attorney told me to refer any other questions to Mr. Bill Shinn,” Nix said.

When asked what reason she had for not wanting to answer questions, Nix said, “My attorney told me not to, given the situation with me. My program is under fire.”

She said she was referring to Mays, who is representing her in a criminal investigation of which Lawrence County authorities said she is a target.

The interview ended after Nix refused to answer any more questions.

Later, The Daily talked with Mays.

“The question she asked me was what was a public record,” Mays said. “I told her that if she had an issue about whether a record is public in her office she should call Mr. Bill Shinn. I don’t know anything about her travel. I am a criminal defense lawyer and do not advise public officials about what is a public record because I know nothing about public records.”

The Daily didn’t get to ask Nix about other discrepancies in her travel records.

On another travel form Nix claimed a total of $69.84 for a trip to Franklin County on March 7 and Madison County on March 8.

No show

Sheryl Plott, administrative assistant and case manager for Franklin County Community Corrections, said Nix did not attend training there on that date.

“She would have come to a driving instructing class,” Plott said. “I checked with the instructor who said Ms. Nix was a no-show.”

Steve Watwood, assistant director of Madison Community Corrections, said his department does not offer training for directors of other programs.

“We don’t offer training,” said Watwood. “As a matter of fact, we have to get 12 hours of continuing education. We are flying by the seat of our pants because this is our first year.”

Nix’s travel records show that she claimed mileage for four other trips to Montgomery. She made two of the trips in February. A Feb. 9 trip was for computer training and one on Feb. 12 was for an Alabama Association of Community Corrections meeting. The county paid her $368.40 for the two trips.

Nix’s records also show that she got $184.20 for a Montgomery trip March 25. The form states that she attended an AACC meeting and Vera Institute of Justice.

She claimed $184.20 for a Montgomery trip July 10 for an AACC meeting, also.

Nix on one sign-in form

Plott gave The Daily 12 sign-in sheets dating to July 2006 from monthly meetings of the association as well as a list of meetings other than the monthly gatherings.

Nix’s name is on only one of the forms this year, from an AACC meeting Feb. 12.

Plott’s list of other meetings shows a directors’ meeting May 31 in Columbiana. Nix claimed $111.84 for mileage for that date. She stated that the trip was for a directors’ work session.

Franklin Community Corrections Director and AACC President Eugene Pierce was out with a medical condition last week. Plott said she checked with him on Nix’s attendance.

“He said Ms. Nix has never attended a directors’ meeting or a Vera Institute meeting,” Plott said.

Plott, however, said that Nix did attend a three-day conference March 28-30 at Joe Wheeler State Park.

Nix, who has been director for a little more than a year, works at the pleasure of the Morgan County Community Corrections Commission. County Commission Chairman John Glasscock is also chairman of the corrections board and Circuit Judge Steve Haddock is vice chairman.

Haddock expressed in a meeting recently that he was pleased with the progress of the corrections program.

Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell said last week that Nix is still the target of an investigation involving forgery and misappropriation of funds that belonged to Hatton Youth Sports Inc.

Nix and Mays have said she is innocent and she has passed a lie detector test.

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