Attorney accuses county of political games

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 10, 2016

A local couple, along with their attorney, was present at the county commission on Wednesday to question why a notice to remove their company’s sign was placed there on election day.

Justin and Ashley Morgan, owners of Spacewalk of Andalusia were represented by local attorney John Scherf, who said he felt the commission was using selective enforcement by putting the notice on Morgan’s company’s sign the day of the election when her father, Tony Holmes, was running for a commission seat.

Scherf said it was politics and that the sign had been in the spot for eight months.

He also said that the Morgans had not received a notice, phone call or certified letter asking them to remove the sign from the right-of-way until election day.

Scherf also presented the commission with a stack of photographs of other signs that would similar in nature to the Morgans’s signs.

“They are all in the right-of-way,” Scherf said.

Scherf asked the commission which commissioner was responsible for having the notice placed on the Spacewalk sign.

The sign is located in Joe Barton’s district, but commissioner Harold Elmore, who is the current commissioner in the district that Holmes won the seat, said he asked the engineer’s office to place a notice.

Elmore maintained that he asked for the notice to be placed days before the election.

Scherf called it politics at its worst and said it was political shenanigans.

He gave the commission and their attorney Stacy Brooks a public records request and asked the commission to defer to their attorney on when and how to respond.

“Some things don’t pass the sniff test,” he said.

He asked the commission to do the right thing and be fair.

County Engineer Darren Capps said the county has placed notices on 11 properties and that there were probably 30 or so more that they are going to post.

Capps said that there are certain requirements from ALDOT and that any right-of-way encroachment must be fixed before any funds are dispersed.

Capps said that equates to about a half million dollars.

He also said that the notice was given to Brooks who OK’d it.

Capps said those who received notices were given 15 days and then they would draft a letter.

“You don’t see signs on the state’s right-of-way,” he said.

Commissioner Joe Barton said the commission had paid to replace a sign that was in the right-of-way recently.

Capps said he mentioned to the commission about the right-of-way when that was previously discussed.

Chairman Bill Godwin said he felt that the people of the county needed to be made aware of the rule.

Commissioner Carl Turman said it was already a rule.

“I’m just trying to be fair to the people,” Godwin said.