Nix: Got to prison too late for visit
Official gives panel list of explanations for disputed travel
By Sheryl Marsh
Although Morgan County Community Corrections Director Alison Nix drafted a list of explanations for disputed trips she made on taxpayers’ money, officials gave her more time to gather documentation.
In her explanatory list, Nix says she doesn’t recall the reason for a Montgomery trip she claim-ed $184.20 for in May. Also, she states she arrived at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women too late to visit an inmate on July 20. She claimed $167.62 for mileage and stated on the travel requisition that the trip was for “visit with inmate in Wetumpka.”
Nix met with the Community Corrections and Court Services Commission on Friday to discuss discrepancies in her travel expenses this year.
The Daily reported last week about Nix’s travel, which totaled $2,026.35 for a six-month period.
Six of the trips totaling $582.78 were disputed, with officials elsewhere saying Nix did not attend meetings. Another $552.60 did not have enough information on requisitions to verify.
In her list of explanations to the board, Nix put different places and reasons for the travel to Franklin and Madison counties on March 7 and 8.
On a travel requisition paying her $69.84 for the two trips, Nix wrote she went to the places for “training at community corrections.”
Sheryl Plott, a case manager for Franklin County Community Corrections, said Nix did not show up for a driving instructing class there March 7. Madison County Alternative Sentencing and Release Director Jackie Wolfe said he met once with Nix last year shortly after the county hired her. Wolfe said he has not seen or heard from Nix since.
In her explanation to the board, Nix stated she went to Sunrise Lodge in Franklin County on March 7; and she went to Bradford Health Services on March 8. Also, she got mileage for a trip to Madison on April 4. She said the trip was for training. In her explanation to the board she states: “Training in Madison County: Entire office went to see where facility was located.” She said they ate and “saw drug testing machine.”
She gave those statements although Madison officials refute her claims of going there on those dates.
E-mail to Daily
Along with her explanation list, Nix included an e-mail that Wolfe sent The Daily on Monday. Wolfe stated in the e-mail that a staff member, Steve Watford, did not know about Nix’s visit with him; therefore, he thought the employee had given wrong information. The Daily talked with Wolfe on the phone and explained that trips Nix said she made there March 8 and April 4 were in question. He said he didn’t know that, and then verified he hasn’t seen Nix since last year.
Nix did not include Wolfe’s published quote with the e-mail she provided the board.
After meeting more than an hour with Nix in executive session, the board came out. Circuit Judge Steve Haddock, vice chairman of the group, moved to have Nix provide affidavits for each of her trips with documentation. The board voted unanimously for her to do so. District Judge Shelly Waters did not attend the meeting.
Haddock also told County Commission Chairman John Glasscock, who is chairman of the corrections group, to keep the affidavits and documentation from the public until a Sept. 10 meeting.
Nix asked her attorney John Mays, who is representing her in a criminal investigation in Lawrence County, to attend the meeting. She wanted him to go into the closed meeting, but no one made a motion and he was not allowed to enter the executive session.
Open meetings violation?
It appeared members discussed in the executive session the motion Haddock made after the session because there was no discussion about it in the open meeting. If discussion occurred in the executive session, it would be in violation of the state open meeting law.
Members were tightlipped after the meeting. At least two members said they had not seen Nix’s lists of explanations. County Administrator Syble Atkins said Nix had a commission office employee make copies along with her travel forms and gave them to Nix. She said Nix took them into the executive session.
Glasscock has said that the corrections commission is giving Nix, who is not a merit system employee, due process.
He declined to say whether the commission would call for an investigation of Nix’s travel pay.
Meanwhile, authorities said Nix remains under investigation in Lawrence County involving alleged forgery and misappropriation of funds that belonged to Hatton Youth Sports Inc.
She was secretary/treasurer until the organization forced her from the dual post as the criminal probe started in June.
Mays said she passed a lie detector test and is innocent.
The members of Morgan County Community Corrections and Court Services Commission are:
John Glasscock, chairman
Circuit Judge Steve Haddock, vice chairman
Circuit Clerk John Pat Orr
Sheriff Greg Bartlett
District Attorney Bob Burrell
District Court Judge Shelly Waters
County Attorney Bill Shinn
Hartselle Police Chief Ron Puckett
Bill Trim, probation officer
Carter Tutwiler, member from community
Nix’s list of explanations
Community Corrections Director Alison Nix prepared this list of explanations for her travel requisitions for a meeting with the Morgan County Community and Court Services Commission:
Requisition #3402: 2-9-07
Florence 2-2: Drug test meeting with Dave Behring. Met to discuss installing our machine with Gene Clecker; went to see Lauderdale County’s drug machine.
Montgomery 2-9: Montgomery computer training on MIDAS system used for community corrections.
Montgomery 2-12: Community Corrections Association meeting. Discussed and handed out nomination forms for community corrections officers of the year and director of the year. Discussed upcoming conference in March at Joe Wheeler State Park. Discussed transfers from one county to the other for supervision.
Daily note: AACC records show that Nix took Jonathan Bradford of Lawrence County with her to the meeting. About a month later, she tried to hire him to work in her office as an administrative assistant.
Requisition #03409: 3-8-07
3-7 Franklin County: Visit to Sunrise Lodge Facility. It is a 28-day male facility run by Sheryl Lott. For anyone with drug problems. Patient cannot have insurance. Will take court orders or people off the streets. $200 admittance fee.
3-8 Madison County Bradford Health Services. Went to see facility. For males and females. Will do 24-hour assessments for free. Prefer insurance patients. Will do court ordered treatments. Hard to get them in.
Daily note: Nix changed the places and reasons for these two meetings. She states on requisitions she went to both counties for training at community corrections. Officials in each county said Nix didn’t go there on those dates. Also, director of Sunrise Lodge is not Sheryl Lott. Her name is Cheryl Ott.
Requisition #3414: 3-27-07
Association meeting: sentencing commission. There meeting with Association members who could attend at 10 a.m. meeting. Representatives from Vera Institute were guests. Discussing legislature for community corrections.
Daily note: This was the trip for which Nix claimed mileage the day before a meeting of Alabama Association of Community Corrections and Vera Institute took place. Nix turned in mileage to Montgomery, stating that she had gone there July 26 for the meeting. The meeting was March 27.
Officials said Nix has never attended a Vera Institute meeting.
Requisition #3418: 3-30-07
Spring conference Joe Wheeler State Park. David and I both attended. I drove every day since it was 30 minutes from my house. David stayed overnight. Have brochure.
Requisition #3418: 4-6-07
4-4 Training in Madison County. Entire office went to see where facility was located. Receipt attached where we all ate in Madison at Logan’s Roadhouse. Saw drug testing machine.
Daily note: Madison County Corrections officials said Nix was not there on that date. The director said the only time he talked with Nix was when she visited last year.
4-3 Training in Limestone County. Shadowed drug lab, director and case management. Visited with CRO in office. Receipt attached where we were at Crackle (sic) Barrell. (sic)
Requisition #3427: 4-19-07
Mileage to Limestone County for five days. Went to observe day to day operations. At least two of us from the office went each day. Went over DOC budget with Therman. Went over computer system and best way to conduct drug testing.
Requisition #3430: 4-27-07
Went to DOC facility in Montgomery. Saw where central records was located and process for DOC inmates paperwork.
Requisition #3437: 5-11-07
Montgomery: Went to Midas computer training.
Directors work session. Preparing for conference. Talked on ways to improve legislature and networking with community corrections. DOC encourage that we make a commitment for four inmates per month to come out of DOC.
Daily note: Franklin County officials said Nix has never attended a directors’ meeting.
Requisition #15308: 7-10-07
Mileage to BRIDGE/Double Springs. Facility is an all male facility with 6-12 month program. David was suppose to go back and share with the men about his son and drug situation and discuss community corrections with them at a later time.
Association meeting: announced conference would be joined with CRO and will be at Perdido Beach. Secure Trac did a presentation on GPS units.
Requisition #15314: 7-23-07
Mileage to go to Tutwiler Prison on 7-20 went to visit with a female inmate and see facility. It was late in the afternoon. I stopped in a convenience store tried to call facility. I could not see inmate if made it to the facility because it was after 5 p.m. Returned home.
Daily note: The spokesman for the state Department of Corrections said employees of the prison found no record of a visit from Nix on any date. Nix learned that last week. Her travel voucher states “visit with inmate.”
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