Smith Responds to Allegations at Tuesday’s County Commission Meeting

May 29, 2014

John Smith of Gunby Communications responds to allegations made in Tuesday’s Stephens County Commission meeting.

Smith spoke with AM 630 WNEG on Wednesday.

Tuesday, Stephens County Commissioners postponed a vote on purchasing a number of new pieces of emergency communications equipment for the E-911 center because Smith was currently under investigation.

Stephens County Administrator Phyllis Ayers says that Smith is under investigation by the GBI for listening to and recording five different conversations on the administrative phone line of Stephens County E-911/EMA Director Denny Folsom.

Also, Ayers says Smith has threatened litigation against the county and played the recordings for a county commissioner in September in what she calls an effort to get the county not to change the current E-911 maintenance contracts in place with Gunby.

Stephens County notified Gunby in October that that it had chosen not to auto-renew annual maintenance contracts currently in place with Gunby for items at the E-911 center.

Smith denied the allegations made in Tuesday’s meeting.

“I deny ever having listened in on or recording any conversation on director Denny Folsom’s administrative line or other line in the center and I will give Phyllis (Ayers) the benefit of being misinformed on this matter,” said Smith. “I deny ever having threatened the county with litigation regarding these recordings. I am on record in all conversations with all parties, including the county attorney, that this is nothing more than a personnel matter for the county manager to address with Mr. Folsom.”

Smith also denied using any recordings to alter the outcome of the recording contract or any other contract with the county.

He acknowledged there is a GBI investigation ongoing and said he will speak with investigators.

“I have had one conversation with a GBI investigator in late January,” said Smith. “I was very clear in that conversation that I would cooperate and that I was just as interested in speaking with him as he was with me and I look forward to having the opportunity to have that conversation with him and bring this matter to a close.”

Smith said he and Gunby Communications look forward to putting this matter behind them as soon as possible.

“I take my personal reputation and the reputation of my employer, Gunby Communications, very seriously,” said Smith. “I deny that I have done anything wrong legally or ethically and that I continue to take the necessary measures to protect myself and my employer. Gunby Communications has experienced an excellent working relationship with the county for many years. We have worked very closely with the two previous 911 directors and continue to have excellent relationships with the other county departments. We look forward to closing this chapter and continuing to provide service to the county and its residents.”

County commissioners said they will re-visit the issue of purchasing equipment after the investigation is complete and they have a finding back from the District Attorney’s office and the GBI.

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