Information from WYSH Radio
The controversy and conflict regarding the copying of hard drives from computers in the Anderson County Human Resources Department has spilled across the street from the County Courthouse to Clinton City Hall.
As we have reported, County Human Resources Director Cathy Best announced her resignation Monday after almost 10 years on the job and her looming departure, along with that of her second-in-command Kerri Ashley, prompted County Mayor Terry Frank to try to have their hard drives copied. Her request was made after she was informed last month that former building inspector Lisa Crumpley was planning on filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against the county, alleging that she was fired for cooperating in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe that led to the indictment of her boss, David Crowley, on charges of inspecting buildings without the necessary certifications.
Frank wanted to copy all forensic evidence on the computers used by Best and Ashley, as they may contain information regarding Crumpley’s termination and what became of her personnel file, which went missing days after she was fired.
On Tuesday, Frank proposed taking the computers off-site for duplication, a suggestion Best quickly rejected, citing the confidential nature of some of the information on the hard drives.
On Wednesday, Sheriff Paul White intervened and prevented a county information technology consultant from copying the hard drives on-site at the Courthouse and posted deputies in the HR office to watch over the machines and make sure they are not used. White reportedly told the mayor she could not copy the files because they are part of the ongoing investigation into Crumpley’s missing file.
Things calmed down a little on Thursday in the Courthouse as Frank, in a message to Trustee Rodney Archer, who chairs the county’s Human Resources Advisory Committee, indicated that her office will bow out of the attempts to secure the computers and will instead allow the sheriff to assume control of the situation.
But WYSH has learned that last week, the county mayor filed an open records request with the city asking for access to computers in the codes office.
And earlier this week, David Crowley’s attorney filed a similar open records request with the city asking for e-mails to and from City Codes Officer Curtis Perez, who has been listed as a potential witness in the case against Crowley.
Both of those requests were denied, partially because some of what was requested—namely individual cell phone and text message records—are not available and also because the requests were not specific enough as to what access was being sought.
The University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service has been providing guidance to the city during this process, but the city’s primary contact with MTAS, Budget Director Gail Cook, is out of town this week.
Wanting more guidance and erring on the side of caution, Clinton officials on Thursday decided to remove Perez’s computer from his office and store it in the police department’s evidence room until Monday, when they hope to receive more information.
City officials assert that the Codes office is still open and able to function.
WYSH and Oak Ridge Today will continue to follow this story for you.
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