Oak Grove mayor, circuit clerk deny allegations made by alderwoman
Oak Grove alderwoman Sabrina Nance has accused Carroll County circuit clerk Ramona Wilson of informing Oak Grove mayor Josh Peden that Nance reviewed public records in Wilson's office -- an allegation that both Wilson and Peden deny.
In a letter to the editor published in today's edition, Nance writes that she recently reviewed public records in Wilson's office.
"The records that I examined are public and concerned matters that I believe are important to the citizens I represent," Nance says in her letter. "The files are open to all citizens and I did not make any special requests as a member of the city council. I did not seek to hide my request to review these public records and I did not discuss my reasons for doing this.
"What concerns me is what happened after I had reviewed the records and completed my business in the clerk's office," Nance's letter says. "Days later, I spoke with the mayor of Oak Grove and he informed me that the circuit clerk, Ramona Wilson, called him to let him know that I had been in her office reviewing files. She did not tell the mayor which files I examined but she did take it upon herself to report my activities to the mayor."
In her letter, Nance describes Wilson's alleged conduct as unsettling.
"This conduct by Ms. Wilson is both shocking and highly disturbing," Nance says in the letter. "Ms. Wilson is not elected to spy, report or monitor the conduct of citizens who exercise their rights as citizens or elected officials.
"This conduct by Ms. Wilson is entirely out of bounds, inexcusable and should not be tolerated by the people of this county."
Wilson confirmed Monday that she did tell Peden that Nance had been in her office examining files, but said that Peden called her and asked her directly if that was the case.
"The mayor called us and asked if she had been there," Wilson said. "I didn't call anybody. He called us. ... I do remember that somebody came in, a female, and asked to look at a file, and then Josh Peden called me and asked me if there had been a female in here looking at records."
Wilson said she didn't believe she was out of line in answering Peden's questions.
"As far as I know, who comes and goes is not privileged information," she said.
Peden agreed with Wilson's version of events.
"I had called and asked," he said Monday. "I was never called by the clerk."
Nance said she was skeptical of the explanation offered by Wilson and Peden.
"I called the mayor and he told me that Ramona had called him and told him I was snooping around in files in her office," Nance said Monday. "How would Josh know to call her? How would he know I was in Ramona's office unless she told him? The only reason I wrote the letter to the editor was to let people know what happened to me because it doesn't need to happen to anyone else."
"That's true," Peden said Monday. "However, that did not come from the clerk's office. It came from somebody else."