Crenshaw commission to answer ethics inquiry

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 10, 2002

The Crenshaw County Commission is preparing to reply to a letter of inquiry into the merits of a complaint received recently regarding the First Step Project.

The letter, signed by Arthur T. Price, special agent, Alabama State Ethics Commission and addressed to Doris Thomas, county administrator, states the following.

&uot;I am conducting a preliminary inquiry into the merits of a complaint I have received. I would appreciate your assistance in obtaining the following documents/information.&uot;

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The letter then lists four items to which replies are requested.

Item 1 n &uot;Any and all correspondence relating to the establishment of First Step Program.&uot;

Copies of all correspondence will be sent.

Answer n The majority of the documents on file were correspondences between Former Probate Judge Dwight Faulk and the various agencies involved with First Step, and also documents attempting to track down financing arrangements.

One document, dated Jan. 27, 2000 was signed by Commission Chairman Ed Beasley, on behalf of the Crenshaw County Commission, to Cindy Hattaway, executive director of the South Central Alabama Mental Health Board, offering a site for the First Step, after the Luverne Industrial Park offered it to the county for the same.

Another document, dated July 26, 2000 was sent to the Commission by Luverne Mayor John Harrison, offering &uot;approximately eight acres (in Industrial Park) for the development of the First Step Project.&uot; Harrison said in the letter that it was a unanimous decision of the City Council to make the offer, stating, &uot;It will benefit the community.&uot; The quoted value of the parcel of property in the letter, was $32,000.

Item 2 n &uot;The name, address and phone number of your current director for this program, and her relationship to Ed Beasley.&uot;

Answer n

Judy Carnley, director of First Step. No relationship to Ed Beasley. Beasley said, &uot;I cannot ever recall meeting her.&uot;

Item 3 n &uot;Certified copies of any and all minutes relating to any discussions or voting on this (First Step) program.&uot;

Answer n Copies are being prepared to be mailed.

&uot;On Sept. 4, 2001, I voted, along with Commissioners Cook and Robinson, after Commissioners Kilcrease and Warrick abstained, to go ahead with the bond issue, after we were reassured by Judge Faulk that it was the county’s best bet,&uot; Beasley said. &uot;I had previously voted in favor, with the other four commissioners, to proceed with the seeking of funding for the First Step Project.

&uot;I also participated in the award of the low bid to Danny Clements Builders on the project, after the four other commissioners had already voted in favor n this was a standard procedure of bid awards,&uot; Beasley said.

Item 4 n A source of a document entitled ‘Economic impact of First Step Facility in Crenshaw County’ and what this document was used for, and who requested the information.&uot;

Answer n as referred to in several meetings by several commissioners, the ‘Economic impact of First Step Facility in Crenshaw County was developed by Doni Ingram, executive director of the Crenshaw County Economic and Industrial Development Authority, Inc. The study was requested by then Probate Judge Dwight Faulk.