BREAKING NEWS – A discussion regarding a potential legal matter turned into a stunning announcement at tonight’s special called Cumberland County Board of Education meeting.
School Board Attorney Earl Patton informed the board that there was possible ethics violations regarding two individuals. Director of Schools Janet Graham told 105.7 News tonight that the two are referred to as “county commissioner 1” and “county commissioner 2.” The possible ethics violation could involve the school system in some way and that is why the school board met regarding the matter.
Patton needed instructions from the board on how to proceed. The first was in reference to identifying the two involved in the allegations.
School board member Jim Inman made a motion to keep the two names secret for now, since it is allegations at this point. It received a second and passed 7 to 2.
The second matter for Patton was to what extent he would get involved to find out the facts of the matter and report back to the school board.
Inman made a motion for Patton to proceed with talking to the ones involved and if further action is warranted, to report back to the school board. A call for question was made. The call for question (to stop discussion and proceed with the actual vote on the motion) passed with six yes votes, a no from school board member Josh Stone and school board member Rebecca Hamby passing. Members then voted for the actual motion for Patton to meet with the individuals involved and have the county mayor and director of schools included. It passed five to four with school board members Josh Stone, Robbie Safdie, Rebecca Hamby and Teresa Boston voting no.
School board member Josh Stone said in the meeting, “I believe official misconduct has occurred and action needs to be taken.”
Patton then told the board they have a duty to report the matter to the state comptroller’s office and the ethics committee of Cumberland County. Patton added it must be reported to the state comptroller’s office in a reasonable amount of time, meaning within five days.
School board member Robbie Safdie said, “Good people make mistakes. I feel badly for the two this involves but if the allegations are true, they need to be held accountable.”
One of the key issues that has to be addressed is was there intentional and knowingly actions taken by the two commissioners? That is a question that will be answered soon.
According to Tennessee Code 39-16-402 the definition of official misconduct is:
(1) Commits an act relating to the servant’s office or employment that constitutes an unauthorized exercise of official power;
(2) Commits an act under color of office or employment that exceeds the servant’s official power;
(3) Refrains from performing a duty that is imposed by law or that is clearly inherent in the nature of the public servant’s office or employment;
(4) Violates a law relating to the public servant’s office or employment; or
(5) Receives any benefit not otherwise authorized by law.
(b) For purposes of subdivision (a)(2), a public servant commits an act under color of office or employment who acts or purports to act in an official capacity or takes advantage of the actual or purported capacity.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution for this offense that the benefit involved was a trivial benefit incidental to personal, professional or business contact, and involved no substantial risk of undermining official impartiality.
(d) An offense under this section is a Class E felony
(e) Charges for official misconduct may be brought only by indictment, presentment or criminal information; provided, that nothing in this section shall deny a person from pursuing other criminal charges by affidavit of complaint.
105.7 News wants to stress to our listeners and readers this is allegations at this time, The identities of the two will not be released at this time by officials to the media. If further action is taken as a result of researching the incident, the names could be revealed then.