Entire Bullock Co. Commission arrested, on felony charges
May 19, 2011 at 7:24 PM CDT - Updated June 24 at 3:04 AM
UNION SPRINGS, AL (WSFA)
All five Bullock County Commissioners were arrested and charged with felony bid law violations in the last 24 hours surrounding accusations they all violated the competitive bid law relating to the purchasing of food for Bullock County jail inmates.
Commission Chairman Ronald Wynord Smith, 56, of Union Springs and Commissioner John Livingston Adams, 43, also of Union Springs, were both arrested Wednesday night and placed in jail. According to Attorney General Luther Strange, Chairman Smith was also charged with an additional ethics law violation.
The three remaining commissioners, Dock McGowan, 82, of Banks; Alonza Ellis Jr., 45, of Union Springs; and James McArthur Perry, 64, of Union Springs were arrested Thursday morning.
A grand jury indicted each commissioner with one count of intentionally, knowingly or recklessly spending an amount greater than $15,000 for inmate food at the Bullock County Jail without entering into free and open competitive sealed bids, in violation of Code of Alabama, Section 41-16-50. Additionally, the chairman, Smith, is charged with failure, as the head of a governmental agency, to report a possible ethics law violation.
Possible violations were revealed by an audit spanning from October 2008 to September 2009. Examiners believe the commission paid at least $61,000.00 for supplies and $24,000.00 for food for the Jail without gathering and considering bids as required by the Alabama Competitive Bid Law. A WSFA 12 News report in November of last year explained a state audit found these same issues as well as other problems with the county's financial reporting.
If convicted, each of the commissioners faces a penalty of up to ten years imprisonment and a fine of up to $15,000 for the bid law charges, which are class C felonies. Smith additionally faces a penalty of up to 12 months imprisonment and a fine of up to $6,000 for the ethics violation, which is a class A misdemeanor.
Also under Alabama law, when a public officeholder is convicted of a felony, the office is vacated from the time of conviction.
According to an independent news outlet in Bullock County, the men were arrested by Bullock County Sheriff Raymond Rodgers however they were reportedly not fingerprinted, nor were mugshots taken.
Commissioner John "Johnny" Adams confirmed the indictments to WSFA 12 News early Thursday morning, when asked of the arrest he responded, "Well, I had to get a bond signed. At this point that's all I can say until I get more information together."