Dems heated in Hale County

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 14, 2004

GREENSBORO-Two Executive Committee Members of the Hale County Democratic Party are claiming racism is the factor that the chairman of the Hale County Party is using to prohibit their ability to perform as elected officials.

Fred McNeil, City Inspector for Moundville and Kirk Pearson, director of E-911 in Moundville are both elected officials that represent the city of Moundville in the Hale County Democratic Party. They are claiming Robert Shepard; chairman of the Party is using racism as a motive because he hasn’t contacted them in over two and a half years for any meetings of the Executive Committee. They both attended the Elijah Knox hearing, but they were not allowed to be a part of it because they haven’t attended the other meetings.

“This all appears to be racially motivated,” Pearson said.

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McNeil said Shepard hasn’t been doing his job as the chairman because he is suppose to notify all the members of the committee and he hasn’t. He also said he and Pearson have talked to an attorney on this matter as well as placed a call to the head office of the Democratic Party in Montgomery.

“I think it is discrimination on his part,” McNeil said, “We are elected officials and he is hindering our ability to perform as such.”

He said Shepard was elected into his position as chairman and they were going to try and get him removed from his seat as chairman. He also said he thinks maybe age or something else has gotten the better of the chairman mentally with his ability to remember things.

“I don’t know if he has had a memory lapse or if he has Alzheimer’s disease,” McNeil said, “But he is not doing his job as the chairman of the Democratic Party in Hale County.”

He said Shepard is the reason for all the trouble that is going on in the elections that take place in Hale County. He also said Shepard has claimed to have sent letters to both Pearson and himself, but nothing has arrived in the past two years.

“We asked him to produce the letters that he sent to us because he said they were returned due to a wrong address,” McNeil said, “But he has yet to produce the letters.”

He said the Executive Committee held a meeting last week, but he and Pearson received no notice of this meeting. He also said that Pearson told him yesterday that his name is one of the five members that will hear the Lois Fields contest of the election against Knox.

“The only reason that Pearson told me that I was one of the five was because he ran into Shepard the other day,” McNeil said, “And Shepard said he wanted to be fair about making the sub-committee, so he wanted to place three blacks and two whites on it.”

After hearing the claims made against him, Shepard said as elected officials they (Pearson&McNeil) have a right to contact me and find out when and where the next meetings are. He also said he would think if he didn’t hear about any meetings, that he would want to call the chairman or the vice-chairman and find out what was going on.

“This isn’t racially motivated at all,” Shepard said, “If it was, why would I put both of them on the sub-committee that will rule on the Fields contest.”

Vice-chairman of the Hale County Democratic Party and Hale County Circuit Clerk Gay Nell Tinker shared the idea as Shepard. She said as elected officials they should have contacted someone and found out when the meetings where going on.

“If they haven’t been to any meetings in the past two years,” Tinker said, “Then they aren’t doing their jobs as elected officials.”