ROGERSVILLE — A complaint accusing the Hawkins County mayor’s executive secretary of opening a county commissioner’s mail will be heard by the commission’s Ethics Committee Monday morning.
Commissioner Danny Alvis has filed an ethics complaint against Martha Wallace, who is County Mayor Melville Bailey’s executive secretary and greets all visitors to his office.
A copy of the complaint wasn’t made available to the Times-News, so the timeline of events alleged in the complaint couldn’t be confirmed.
Alvis told the Times-News that around six weeks ago he received a call from Rogersville City Recorder Bill Lyons, who said a letter to Alvis from the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board had been delivered to City Hall by Bailey.
“(Lyons) said it was open when it was handed to him,” Alvis said. “It had the two liquor licenses in it that they had approved for the new Rogersville stores. I guess because I’m chairman of the Beer Board the ABC thought I should have a copy, even though the county doesn’t have liquor sales.”
Alvis added, “I then called Martha (Wallace) and she told me that she opened my mail. I said, ‘Why?’ She said, ‘It didn’t have your address on it’. I said, ‘Well I’m looking at the envelope and it does not have your address on it either.’ ”
As it turned out, the mailing address on the letter had a Rogersville address that doesn’t exist, which was apparently a mistake on the part of the ABC. The post office knew Alvis was a commissioner and took it to the mayor’s office.
“It bothered me that she opened my mail, and then had no intentions of me even getting it,” Alvis said. “She had no intentions of telling me about it, so I have filed a complaint. I want the Ethics Committee to tell me if it wouldn’t have bothered them if someone had opened their mail.”
Alvis added, “I am an elected official and chairman of the Beer Board. ABC thought I needed those two liquor licenses, which I didn’t, but still, Martha had no business opening my mail.”
Ethics Committee Chairman Joe McLain told the Times-News Tuesday he hasn’t had time to investigate the complaint, but it will have been investigated by the time of Monday’s hearing, which begins at 9 a.m. at the county mayor’s office.
“(The envelope) did have his name on it, and an incorrect address, and it was delivered to the county mayor’s office, and she opened it,” McLain said. “We’ve not conducted an investigation, but as I understand it the address that was on the envelope doesn’t even exist in Rogersville.”
Alvis is the only other person to have an ethics complaint filed against him since the Ethics Committee was formed in 2011. Tim Carwile, who was a county mayor candidate in 2010, filed a complaint against Alvis last year alleging a conflict of interest when Alvis sought $10,000 to build a puppy nursery at the Hawkins County Humane society. Alvis is also a member of the HCHS board of directors.
That complaint was dismissed after Carwile failed to attend Alvis’s Ethics Committee hearing, although it was later revealed that Carwile hadn’t been notified of the hearing date.