The Marshall County Fiscal Court last week announced it had denied the appeal of the former Marshall County E911 dispatcher who was terminated in December after being arrested and charged with a felony.
Tonya Clevidence, 46, was arrested Dec. 9 by the Marshall County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) and subsequently fired by the county after the Murray Police Department issued a warrant for her arrest, charging her with theft of identity of another without consent, a Class D felony, and harassing communications, a Class B misdemeanor.
When the fiscal court members returned from executive session during the Jan. 7 meeting, Marshall County Judge-Executive Kevin Neal read a statement announcing the purpose of the executive session was to hear Clevidence's appeal. He said the court members also heard statements from Marshall County E911 Director Chris Freeman and Assistant Director John Townsend, who both reported Clevidence admitted to using the IP address associated with the dispatch center in an ongoing scheme to harass another individual, in violation of policies and procedures.
"Clevidence stated to the [fiscal] court [members] that she should not be terminated because she believed the criminal charges would be dropped, but did not at any point deny the general nature of the allegations," the statement read in part. "Due to various security concerns and protocols at Marshall County 911, the nature of the offense is such that termination is appropriate due to fear that terminals could be pulled if she is permitted to remain an employee of Marshall County 911."
Clevidence is scheduled for arraignment in Calloway District Court Jan. 15. The charges stemmed from alleged incidents which began in early 2018 and continued into late 2019 involving Clevidence creating false social media accounts and pretending to be the ex wife of the man she was dating while sending harassing communications to several people, even to herself.
The fiscal court members did not, however, address the controversial proposed second amendment sanctuary county ordinance or share Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's take on it; no official conversations have taken place in public view regarding the delayed measure since Neal shared a memo on the fiscal court's social media page at 11:14 p.m. Jan. 3 saying after a meeting with Cameron, the ordinance needed revision and was delayed until an undetermined date.
The fiscal court members also failed to discuss the text messages uncovered in an open records request (ORR) filed by WPSD reporter Shamarria Morrison, which exposed foul, degrading comments made by Commissioner Justin Lamb about Commissioner Kevin Spraggs.
In the text conversation between Neal and Lamb, Neal told Lamb that Spraggs continued to question which version of the ordinance the commissioners would be asked to vote on during the Jan. 7 meeting.
Neal wrote to Lamb: "Spraggs has no clue that the revised ordinance that Kent [Masterson Brown] wrote was what I read in court for the first reading!"
Lamb replied: "I just saw that! I have the [expletive] email that you sent before court stating it was a revised ordinance!!! He is [expletive] clueless!!!"
Neal also told Lamb during one of the conversations that his "gloves are off" in reference to County Attorney Jason Darnall and the amendments Darnall made to the proposed ordinance following the first reading on Dec. 17.
Lamb sent a text to Neal indicating he believed his constituents were ignorant as well. He told Neal he "probably shouldn't have stirred up the haters [Dec. 19] but I'm tired of their [expletive]!!!"
He appears to be referencing a post he made on Facebook, which he later deleted in its entirety, which read: "Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that the constant complaining keyboard warriors on social media who are working their [expletive] against the Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance are the same people who have opposed Judge/Executive Kevin Neal on every single issue this year? Maybe it is because their liberal anti-NRA candidate for judge/executive was defeated last year? I guess they would rather play politics and see our gun rights infringed upon rather than see Judge Neal and our county be successful. A play right out of the liberal Washington playbook of [Speak of the United States House of Representatives] Nancy Pelosi. Very sad! I for one support the Constitution and support Judge Neal's Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance!"
Following the text to Neal announcing he had made the social media post, Lamb told Neal, "These people are clueless."
The conversations between Neal and Spraggs show Spraggs sending text messages that were unanswered for hours, even a week, asking questions regarding the proposed ordinance and requesting further information.
On Dec. 23, 2019, Spraggs asks if Neal is going to send the documents Spraggs requested from Brown, the attorney from Lexington who Neal contended supported the ordinance more than half a dozen other attorneys and judges said exceeded the authority of a fiscal court. The text went unanswered.
On Dec. 31, Spraggs tells Neal he learned on Facebook the ordinance had been revised and contends a revised copy of the ordinance needs to be provided to all commissioners "immediately to have time to consider before the next meeting." He requested the copy of the document be sent to him that afternoon and also requested copies of any correspondence between Neal and Brown saying, "As a commissioner, I am entitled to know exactly what he has advised you. This includes emails and text messages."
Several hours later, Neal said following the Dec. 23 request for information he advised Spraggs to call Brown and contended he didn't have written correspondence with Brown.
"[Brown] revised the original GOA (Gun Owners of America) ordinance. You and the other two commissioners have the revised ordinance. I read it in court for the first reading. Kent advised me our ordinance is not in the field of regulating firearms and it is a legal ordinance. I agree," the message read in part.
During the conversation, Spraggs asked twice for confirmation the version of the ordinance they were supposed to vote on during the Jan. 7 meeting was the same as was presented during the Dec. 17 meeting and Neal confirmed that was the case.
The ORR also included an email from Dr. Val Finnell of the GOA lobbyist group sent Dec. 18 to Neal, Lance Cary (Neal's campaign manager) and two other members of GOA.
"I want to encourage you to hold the line and not remove the penalties from the ordinance per the county attorney's recommendation. This would remove any consequences for violating the law," Finnell wrote in part. "If your sheriff is supporting this, then there should not be an issue with placing his deputies at risk since, presumably, they would be following his directive not to enforce."
Finnell also advised, in underlined type: "Lance (Cary) tells me that you have a commissioner on the fence that could benefit from a conference call with us. Please let me know if and when you'd like to do this and I will make myself available."
WPSD has, as of press time, filed at least two appeals to the Kentucky Attorney General's Office asking for intervention in Neal's failure to provide documents requested which should be subject to public inspection and therefore made available.