Commission rights a wrong
by Jack McNeely
May 02, 2014 | 604 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jack McNeely
Jack McNeely
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Kudos to the Walker County Commission, which Thursday morning voted unanimously to place election notices in your Daily Mountain Eagle despite legal and political maneuvering in recent weeks.

I want to thank each commissioner – Chairman Billy Luster, District 1 Commissioner Keith Davis, District 2 Commissioner Dan Wright and District 3 Commissioner Bobby Nunnelley – for casting their vote of confidence our way. And although District 4 Commissioner Steven Aderholt was not in attendance, I feel confident that he would have done the same.

This has been a long, hard fight for what is right. But I am not naïve enough to think that Ken Guin, owner of The Corridor Messenger, will walk away without a fight.

Guin did not attend the emergency commission meeting Thursday. Perhaps he saw the handwriting on the wall Wednesday afternoon after Walker Circuit Court Judge Hoyt Elliott torpedoed Probate Judge Rick Allison’s attempt to force the county commission to pay for election notices published in Guin’s weekly newspaper.

Elliott also ruled that the commission had the final say in where such notices are to be published.

Despite receiving notice from commission counsel three weeks ago that he would not be paid for notices published prior to a commission vote, Guin published the Qualified Voters List this week and plans to invoice the county for more than $29,000.

Fortunately for the taxpayers of Walker County, commissioners said they would not pay the bill.

State law requires that the voters list be published 20 days prior to the June 3 Primary Election. Guin showed contempt for the commission by publishing the list prior to its vote yesterday rather than wait a week or two. Costly mistake!

Also this week, The Corridor Messenger claimed that Allison saved the county $20,000 by publishing the notices in the weekly newspaper. That claim is not based on facts, however.

The weekly newspaper published pricing from each newspaper, but it did not include the less expensive “insert” option as provided only by the Daily Mountain Eagle back in March. Allison inexplicably failed to consider the option that was only a few hundred dollars more but offered 6,000 more copies.

Accuracy is what built the Daily Mountain Eagle over the years. And we will continue to carry that torch.

In the meantime, I ask our state delegation of Sen. Greg Reed and Representatives Bill Roberts and Richard Baughn to consider introducing a bill in the state legislature next year that will recognize newspapers with a higher paid circulation as Papers of Record in their respective counties.

Such a law would eliminate political wrangling at the expense of taxpayers.

Jack McNeely is the publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle and can be contact by phone at 205-221-2840 or via email at jack.mcneely@mountaineagle.com.