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Last updated on Friday, March 16, 2012
(MADISON COUNTY) - A Madison County Councilman is under investigation for allegations of campaigning while on the clock and sending sexually explicit emails using his county account.
Republican David McCartney is a full-time employee with the Madison County Assessor's Office, and is also running for Madison County Commissioner in the May primary.
Madison County human resources has hired former county attorney Jim Wilson to review McCartney's emails, as well as the emails of other several other county elected officials.
The controversy started after a heated public meeting in February regarding wheel taxes, RTV6's Kara Kenney reported.
Afterward, taxpayers requested access to emails for McCartney, Councilmen Mike Gaskill, Mike Phipps and Rick Gardner, as well as County Recorder Angela Shelton.
When taxpayers raised concerns about the content of some of the emails, Madison County human resources enlisted the help of Wilson on March 1.
Through a public records request, the Call 6 Investigators reviewed dozens of emails and found McCartney sending and receiving emails unrelated to county business on his county email account and county computer, throughout during his 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. work hours.
The emails included McCartney transmitting campaign materials on several occasions, as well as dozens of racy emails exchanged with a female county assessor in another county.
"You are too sweet, just so happens you taste sweet as well," McCartney wrote in an email with a time stamp of Feb.21 at 2:25 pm.
In a Jan. 23 email at 2:55 pm, McCartney appears to brag to an employee in the Madison County prosecutor's office about a recent conference.
"(Fifty-dollar) steaks and free beer. I was in heaven, not to mention all the hot (pieces) of (explicative)," read the email.
Taxpayers said they had some concerns after reading McCartney's emails.
"I think it's wrong. I think it's wrong on all levels," resident Joe Brandon said. "We're paying for their salary, for their computer, for the lights, we're paying for everything. They should be working for us."
McCartney earns $13,297 as a council member and $26,306 as a reassessment deputy with the Assessor's office.
County policy prohibits county employees from sending sexually explicit messages, and also bans using work hours to engage in political activity.
The policy also states county email cannot be used to solicit others for political causes, or other non-county business matters.
"All employees are given a copy of the personnel handbook and all sign and accept the terms of it," said Madison County Attorney Jerry Shine. "Outside counsel is still reviewing the documents to see what they contain and if there are any violations of our Madison County policy."
Shine said once outside counsel completes the investigation, he and human resources will determine a course of action.
"You have public employees being paid to do a public job," Shine said.
David McCartney says he was unavailable to meet on Thursday, but said he was not aware of the county's email policy banning campaigning while on duty.
McCartney also said he is being targeted for political reasons and is happily married.
He says"no inappropriate relationship took place," and that the emails were meant to "play the same game" as his political naysayers.
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