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George goes to court to get access to e-mails

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
District 4 Commissioner Stacy George has initiated legal action in an attempt to gain access to e-mails on computer servers used by the county’s elected and appointed officials and their employees.
He filed a petition in Morgan County Circuit Court Jan. 17 through his attorney Hubert Porter to enjoin two elected officials and a county employee from denying him access to public records. Named as defendants in the suit are Morgan County Commissioner Chairman John Glasscock, District 1 Commissioner Jeff Clark and Data Processing Department Manager David Hannah, in addition to all other county elected officials and employees.
George’s petition was denied by presiding Circuit Court Judge Steve Haddock on Jan. 23 on grounds that it did not comply with minimum requirements for filing a lawsuit. He was granted 14 days in which to re-word the petition and re-file it with an attached amendment.
George has tried unsuccessfully to get access to some 40,000 e-mails, which were burned to a disc and placed somewhere in the Morgan County Jail after the commission voted 3-1 to end an e-mail probe on Dec.28. He claims information contained on county owned computer hard drives and e-mail servers are public record.
The commission voted Jan. 9 to seek an opinion from the attorney general as to whether the commission has the authority to conduct a random sample of e-mails.
George said he taking $232 out of his own pocket to pay the court’s filing fee.

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