With each passing day, our readers and employees of the Morgan County Sheriffs Office ask us why hasn't the state taken action against Sheriff Franklin? What are they waiting for? How much money has Sheriff Franklin taken out of the sheriff's funds?
We can't answer these questions. State Attorney General Luther Strange has been aware of Sheriff Franklin's conduct and behavior for years. The senior leaders from the state have not taken any interest that we can see to investigate Franklin. Long before the primary election for sheriff of Morgan County, we had reported multiple complaints against the sheriff yet neither leader would touch the complaints. At one point three Christmas seasons past a state investigator contacted Lockhart and asked her what was going on between her and the Sheriff? Lockhart told the investigator that if they would come north and investigate he would not need to call her. The investigator said they would be coming north after the Holiday season. They must have gotten lost.
Had the State conducted an investigation into Franklin's actions, they could have saved the taxpayers, state, and feds several hundred thousands of dollars. Plus the inmates would not have experienced years of inadequate or inadequate nutritional meals and health care.
Many people have suffered because of Franklin's conduct. The road deputies, clerks, and corrections officers have suffered. The employees that were forced out have suffered great personal effects for them and their families. One of the clerks was fired during the Christmas Holiday Season two years ago. Multiple people of color have been forced out. Two of the women who were forced out were corrections officers assigned to the kitchen. We now know that these two ladies were forced out around the same time frame that money was being taken out of the inmates' food funds. Both women worked hard along with the nutritionist to ensure they met the amended federal consent decree.
Franklin has made multiple statements that the whistleblowers have broken the morale of the employees of the sheriff's office. The actions of anyone other than Ana are not to blame. No one forced her to lie, steal, or attempt to deceive.
Franklin claims that Lockhart and Warden Bradley are under criminal investigation for computer tampering yet Franklin's lawyers have made it clear that if Franklin and others within her department committed illegal acts they are not liable for punitive damages.
Who is responsible for Franklin making three copies of Bradley's and Lockhart's computers and holding the computers in a non-secure environment for two weeks before sending them to Marshall County Forensics Group?
Why did Franklin relay some of her intent on sending Lockhart's business information to the Department of Labor? Within two weeks of making those claims, Lockhart received a notice of a pending investigation.
We can't help but wonder if the Department of Labor is looking into the documents they received that shows Franklin has underpaid the deputies for years. The underpayment will cost the county more than two million dollars if our sources are correct.
What was Franklin looking for on Bradley's computer? Proof that he sent the whistleblowers highly sensitive sheriffs office information. They didn't find it because it wasn't there. Franklin is still claiming that Bradley is under a criminal investigation for computer tampering. She didn't find the sheriff's office highly sensitive information on Lockhart's computers either. We believe that Franklin may have written a how-to guide on breaking the law, computer tampering, and more.
So when does the investigation ended on Bradley and Lockhart? The sheriff has a stay on Lockhart's Federal Lawsuit against the sheriff for an additional five months. A delay tactic which allows the sheriff to continue making the claim that Bradley and Lockhart are under criminal investigation. The delay of the Federal Lawsuit against the sheriff and the individuals named in the suit is delayed. The investigations on Franklin's conduct, abuse of power, fraud, waste, and criminal activities continues. When all is said and done the sheriff's office will have many more lawsuits against her, EEOC complaints, and hopefully the Department of Labor for cheating employees out of their pay.
Last but not least is the fact that Sheriff Ana Franklin, Bones Wilson, Blake Robinson, Justin Powell, and ALEA Steven Ziaja will be looking at time in prison.
Sheriff Ana Franklin still has all of the above believing that she has this thing covered. She claims to have Attorney General Luther Strange wrapped around her little finger and she claims he will be the next U.S. Senator taking the place of Jeff Sessions. Franklin also claims close relations with Senator Jeff Sessions. Franklin believes with these contacts along with latest boyfriend Charlie Mcnichol she is untouchable. Time will tell. These claims, we believe will do little more to benefit Ana than Blake's battle cry to and against the FBI will do for any of them.
We do concede that with all the turmoil in Montgomery and Ana's personal interactions with Strange and Bently that she may likely escape from accountability from those state offices. Sad, but unfortunately true it seems. These are not the ones who will ultimately make a difference though. Ana, keep putting on the show and denying any accountability through deceit and exaggerated claims of immunity. It's not doing you or Barney well is it?
If your claimed immunity was so great why is your insurance carriers already bailing on you for acting outside the scope and line of your duties? They also already know you are way outside that thin blue line, don't they?
Many of the local citizens, the inmates, most of your employees who care enough or know enough to look beyond the paycheck, the county insurance, and now an ever increasing population being reached by the media, all seem to see the writing on the wall. Ana comes back from where ever you have run off to this time and try to deal with the matters at hand where you were elected to do a job. Will you be able to replace all the money that was taken? Are problems bigger than you can resolve so you run off versus dealing with them? They won't just go away. Are we back to no-show Ana again?