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THURSDAY, JANUARY 12, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Murphy case dismissal right way to handle flap

For months, members of the Morgan County Commission and the Sheriff's Department jockeyed for dominance in county politics.

After ugly verbal skirmishes over who would provide security at the courthouse and how Sheriff Greg Bartlett was to fund the new jail and finance the on-going running of his office, Commissioner Kevin Murphy found himself staring at a questionable traffic citation.

Circuit Judge Steve Haddock dismissed the ticket last week, short-circuiting the commissioner's attempt to take the case to trial. It was the right thing to do because trial would have escalated a situation that should not have been.

Commissioner Murphy said he believed a $500,000 cut in the sheriff's budget got him cited early Nov. 4 when he said he was checking on construction hazards on one of his road projects.

Power politics?

The debate could continue if the judge hadn't accepted a recommendation from the District Attorney's Office to dismiss the case at Sheriff Bartlett's request.

Even with the case dismissed, neither side looked good in attempting to resolve the ubiquitous courthouse problems between sheriffs and county commissions.

Threats, implied or stated, have no place in carrying out government. Taxpayers want and deserve good government and don't want public officials looking foolish in carrying out their responsibilities.

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