Open line: Plus unscheduled Jermain Taylor bout; FOI release on fired budget administrator | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Open line: Plus unscheduled Jermain Taylor bout; FOI release on fired budget administrator

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2015 at 4:10 PM

Here's the open line and today's video. Also today:

* JERMAIN TAYLOR KNOCKDOWN: The boxer, who's facing a variety of assault charges and has been receiving treatment in a rehabilitation center, was named in an arrest warrant today for allegedly knockding down a man May 13 at the Oasis Renewal Center. The scrap had been reported previously. Channel 4 reports.

* FOI RESPONSE: The state Finance and Administration Department today released documents requested by reporters after the May 18 firing of long-time budget administrator Brandon Sharp. The law limits what may be released and redacts some information. The file includes a letter from Department Director Larry Walther confirming the firing as outlined in an earlier meeting the two had, though without explanation. In a category of documents released, with redactions, that might have contributed to the decision were notes from employees that described a complaint from an employee about Sharp behavior that she took to be sexual harassment — an unwanted backrub on one occasion and a hand on a knee in another and comments made in a bar while drinking with other employees. Three employees also provided statements on this complaint that tended to support the employee's account about incidents the week before Sharp's firing.The file also including a warning letter sent to Sharp in June 2014 by then Director Richard Weiss about an "incident report" concerning him from the State Parks and Tourism Department and the state Game and Fish Commission. The letter didn't elaborate on the incident, but the letter said it was the third time Weiss had discussed Sharp's "personal relationship with agencies or individuals about his actions." The letter said "there are three strikes and there are no more." It said should "another situation come up due to your actions you will be teriminated." It said the letter of discipline had no time limit. The file released contained no responses from Sharp to the statements. He did not respond to earlier inquiries about the firing. He'd been budget administrator for four years and made $101,000.

UPDATE: On Friday, May 29, Sharp provided a prepared statement to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in which he disputed any suggestion of improper behavior.  He said the allegations by unnamed co-workers were "unsubstantiated and categorically false." He continued to say he hadn't been given a specific reason for his termination. The statement indicated the 2014 letter stemmed from a DWI while boating citation he'd received. He said that charge was still pending and he hoped to be cleared of the charge. The statement said, in part, according to the article:

"I understand the political nature of the position in which I served and have thus far refused to engage in the public spectacle regarding the intent of my firing. However, both my personal and professional reputation stand to suffer greatly from these defamatory statements and have caused immeasurable devastation to me and my entire family. I am in the process of retaining legal counsel to represent me in this matter and cannot comment further at this time."

* FUNNY OR DIE: The humor channel turns its attention to the Duggar family. Devastatingly.

click to enlarge CHANNELING DUGGARS: On Funny or Die.
  • CHANNELING DUGGARS: On Funny or Die.

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