Hobson City town clerk suspended pending outcome of criminal case
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhalter@annistonstar.com
Aug 12, 2013 | 4064 views |  0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HOBSON CITY - The town clerk of Hobson City was placed on unpaid leave Monday until a criminal case she’s involved in is resolved.

Shelia Jones, 38, of Anniston turned herself in to the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday. Jones was arrested on two charges of using her office to benefit herself. She was released the same day on an $8,000 bond, according to court records.

Jones, who was not at Monday’s meeting, is charged with tampering with governmental records and obstructing government operations, both misdemeanors. She is set to appear in court Sept. 3.

As town clerk, Jones was responsible for payroll and used her position to avoid paying her own wage garnishments, Hobson City Mayor Alberta McCrory told The Star last week.

Jones was hired on a temporary basis in November.

The council met with an investigator from the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office in a 40-minute closed-door executive session at the start of Monday’s council meeting to discuss the good name and character of a city employee.

Upon returning to the regular open meeting, the council — on recommendation of town attorney Jake Mathews — voted unanimously to suspend Jones without pay until her charges are resolved.

Mayor Alberta McCrory said that without Jones, the operating hours of town hall will change slightly. Those changes will be posted at town hall as they occur, McCrory said.

Residents needing to pay bills can place their payments in the drop box at town hall, McCrory said.

“We’ll look at hiring someone temporarily until we can get someone to help on a permanent basis,” McCory said, speaking of filling the vacant town clerk position.

In another matter, about $2,000 worth of football equipment is missing from storage at town hall, and the town’s youth football program won’t be able to start the season without new equipment, said councilwoman Susie Jones, who oversees the parks and recreation program.

“Half our helmets are gone. We don’t have anything,” Jones said.

There are only about seven helmets for younger children, and about 10 for older youth, Jones said. About 68 children participated in the program last year, Jones said. She expects a similar turnout this year.

The equipment was stored in a room inside town hall, McCrory said. Town employees and a church group have access to the room, she said, but she doesn’t know why someone would steal youth football equipment.

“I’m sure the city can contribute something,” McCrory said, speaking about replacing the missing equipment. “These are our kids, and we’re certainly going to find some money somewhere to help get done what needs to get done.”

In other business, the council:

• Adopted an amended town budget.

• Tabled discussion of the development of a new personnel and procedures manual.

• Tabled discussion of pending changes to the municipal nuisance and abatement ordinance. A public hearing will be held prior to a vote on the new ordinance to allow residents to learn about those changes, McCrory said.

• Announced the town will celebrate the 114th Founder’s Day on Sunday at 4 p.m. in the FEMA building.

A town council workshop is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 19 at 5 p.m. at town hall. The next regular meeting will be Monday, Aug. 26 at 6:30 p.m.

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.

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