Tribune-Courier News Editor
Marshall County Refuse Board’s chairman Danny Newton welcomes any probe into his board’s conduct.
Marshall County commissioners Terry Anderson and Misti Drew called for an investigation at a June 25 Fiscal Court session. The two commissioners rejected reappointments of Newton and Charlie Edwards to the board based on the board’s non-contractual agreement with Clean Earth to recycle white goods. Advised by County Attorney Jeff Edwards to bid the contract to recycling, the board severed its relationship with Clean Earth and selected a contractor for the job.
“We brought this issue up 3 or 4 years ago, and the board defied the county attorney’s recommendation,” Anderson said.
Anderson recommended an investigation to determine the process followed by the refuse board.
“They have given away taxpayer property and operated under a contract that didn’t exist,” Drew said.
Newton said the board was in the process of obtaining an attorney and opening records to respond to any call for an investigation.
“We have nothing to hide,” Newton said.
Newton explained Jeff Edwards would not represent the board as his father is Charlie Edwards, the other member rejected at the Fiscal Court session.
Newton said he was advised by Jeff Edwards to bid the contract for recycling and complied with the request.
“They said we defied the county attorney? We would never make a move on any legal issue without talking to the county attorney,” Newton said.
Jeff Edwards said Newton and the refuse board complied with his recommendation to bid the recycling contract. He added any investigation would only determine the time taken to bid the contract.
Drew’s and Anderson’s no votes kept Charlie Edwards off the board with a tie vote with Judge Executive Mike Miller and Commissioner Bob Gold voting yes. Both Drew and Anderson called into question Newton’s reappointment by the city of Benton. Anderson said Benton had never appointed a refuse board member before, and all members had been confirmed by the fiscal court.
A letter dated from Feb. 24 from Benton Mayor Steve Cary recommended Newton be reappointed to the board. As of press time, the Tribune-Courier did not have any Benton City Council records confirming this appointment was made and voted on in a City Council session.
Miller said Benton had made its own appointments to the board, as allowed by statute, since 1969. According to Jan. 5, 1970 Fiscal Court minutes, the city of Benton appointed Guy Mathis to the refuse board as its representative.
Anderson contested the city appointment, contending the city had never made an appointment before, and called it an effort to circumvent the will of the Fiscal Court.
Miller said he stood by the city’s appointment of Newton. He added if the Fiscal Court remained deadlocked on the reappointment of Charlie Edwards, he could not revisit the matter for 30 days. At that point, he could issue an executive order making the appointment.
“City attorney Martin Johnson has told me the Fiscal Court shouldn’t even vote on their appointment. My feeling is (Charlie) Edwards and Newton haven’t done anything illegal. They have been good board members, and I see no reason not to reappoint Charles. The city certainly seems pleased with Danny.”