The chairman of the Jackson County, Alabama, Commission resigned Tuesday, days after the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency was asked to investigate the discovery of a security camera that was trained on a county employee.
The county's four district commissioners — Danny Rich of District 1, Jason Venable of District 2, A.J. Buckner of District 3 and Kevin McBride of District 4 — unanimously accepted chairman Tim Guffey's resignation during a special meeting Tuesday afternoon. McBride attended virtually.
The four commissioners did not make any connection between the two developments during the meeting.
Venable, the county commission's vice chairman, was unanimously appointed Tuesday to temporarily take over the chairman's duties until Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey can appoint a replacement.
Venable read from a short statement.
"The chairman of the Jackson County Commission has tendered his resignation to Gov. Kay Ivey, effective immediately," Venable said. "The chairman's duty will end."
Guffey couldn't be reached Wednesday for comment. In a letter to Ivey, he stated no reason for stepping down. And although Guffey has already been replaced on an interim basis, Guffey's letter to Ivey stated that his resignation would not be effective until next April.
Tuesday's meeting was adjourned after less than four minutes. None of the commissioners made any remarks about Guffey's resignation.
Tim Guffey's resignation letterView
Venable also could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
On Monday, Jackson County's four current district commissioners issued a statement — Guffey's name notably missing from the signatures — regarding the request for the investigation calling the matter "inappropriate surveillance."
"The commissioners take this allegation very seriously and are providing full cooperation with the investigation," the statement from Rich, Venable, Buckner and McBride reads. "Neither these commissioners nor the courthouse security committee were aware of the placement of the particular camera involved in the present investigation."
Commissioners first became aware of the suspicious camera Dec. 15 and "took steps the same day to have the [device] removed," officials stated. "Until the investigation is complete, the commissioners will have no comment on whether or not the installation of this camera was warranted for legitimate security purposes."
The commissioners said in their statement that cameras and sound equipment were installed over the years as part of a courthouse security plan developed in response to several incidents there, including one in which a camera helped determine what happened when a courthouse officer fired on an armed man who tried to enter the building back in September 2019. The man died before he was arrested on an indictment issued in the incident.
In November 2012, Guffey was one of the first two Republicans elected to the Jackson County Commission since Reconstruction in the traditionally Democrat-dominated county. Venable was the other Republican elected to the commission.
Guffey became chairman of the commission in 2018, a few months after previous chairman Michael Hodges, a Democrat who won the post in 2012, resigned to take a job in Huntsville in 2017.
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