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Commission votes to allow Swingle to promote books on Web site

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The case of the Web site book promotion is now closed.

The Cape Girardeau County Commission on Monday voted 2-1 to restore to public view the World Wide Web page at Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle's Web site where he displays the covers of his three commercial books. The page also includes lists of and links to many of Swingle's scholarly and legal articles.

The page had been hidden from view since last week when Associate Commissioner Jay Purcell directed that it be removed because of potential conflict with the county's Internet use policy barring commercial uses of the county's resources. Purcell voted against restoring the page, while Presiding Commissioner Gerald Jones and Associate Commissioner Larry Bock favored putting it back on view.

"It doesn't pass the sniff test," Purcell said.

In front of the commissioners, Swingle focused on the access to legal articles, noting that it built up the reputation of his office to show his work furthering legal understanding. "These are things, believe it or not, that some parts of the public are interested in," Swingle said.

He also stated that his true-crime commercial book, "Scoundrels to the Hoosegow," had legal merit and was being used in at least one instance "as a training manual."

Swingle noted that in March he had altered the links on the page so that instead of directing users to a place where they could purchase his books, the links now lead to descriptions of his books on the Mystery Writers of America Web site. A note on the Web page tells readers that the books are available at local bookstores and at online book sellers.

"There is no question that it does not violate the county's policy," Swingle said.

Purcell defended his actions, comparing the book promotion to his personal bed-and-breakfast operation, Bock's seed business or the newspaper owned by Jones. It would be wrong to have prominent logos from those businesses with a note on how to be a customer on the county Web site, he said.

"They are not official business," he said. "They are not related to the county."

Purcell told Swingle that he should look at the issue with detachment. "I think maybe you are a little blinded because it is your issue," Purcell said.

Swingle, however, said the books are part of his public persona and rightfully are on the Web site. In an interview after the meeting, he said that even his two novels, "The Gold of Cape Girardeau" and "Bootheel Man" are deserving of display. "They teach history. They are scholarly publications even though they are history novels."

rkeller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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I've always liked Morely, but his reasons to keep the books on the web site are pretty lame. All he needs to say is that the County Commission has the authority to make any exceptions to the computer use policy that they want, after all they approved it.

It all goes back to the arrogance and hypocrisy of a county commission that, at the end of the day, is not all that bright.

-- Posted by B_O_B on Tue, May 6, 2008, at 8:29 AM

I demand that those books be taken off now and Swingle is no longer allowed to use the COUNTY website for personal gain.

Bock and Jones should not have even VOTED on the matter considering neither one of them know how to USE the internet nor use email. This was a matter that should have only been voted on by people in the know. Bock and Jones should have recused themselves on the vote due to ignorance and buffoonery.

-- Posted by TommyStix on Tue, May 6, 2008, at 9:37 AM

The Swingle ads on our county website make sense - since it is a public internet site. Being the case...each and every county resident must too be given the same privelege as Mr. Swingle...it would only be fair. Right? So, now we can all post our seed corn company ads, used car lot, and yard sale advertisements on this open and free county website.

Thanks Bock and Jones!!!

-- Posted by jacksonjazzman on Tue, May 6, 2008, at 2:10 PM

Sounds like Bock and Jones are doing some brown nosing.

-- Posted by justmyopin on Tue, May 6, 2008, at 2:27 PM

Sounds like Bock & Jones are doing some brown nosing.

-- Posted by justmyopin on Tue, May 6, 2008, at 2:35 PM

CROOKED!!! Has Jones even been on the internet??? Why don't Swindle set up a bookstore in the county courthouse too!

-- Posted by CeilingCatKnowsBest on Tue, May 6, 2008, at 2:46 PM

I wonder how much of the proceeds from the sale of the book he will contribute back for the use? It seems he is always going after people that gain from illegal activity, but I assume he is exempt from those laws he enforces!! I think it's time we clean out the "good ole boy network" and be heard come election time! Can you say recall?

-- Posted by mohacker on Tue, May 6, 2008, at 3:31 PM

It all makes sense now. So as long as Jones and Bock agree to it any misuse of computer policy is allowed.

So the speedlimit on the Interstate is 70, but it's ok to speed when you get permission from Blunt. That's the same logic.

-- Posted by interesting on Tue, May 6, 2008, at 5:10 PM

He looks like Boss Hog and runs the county like Hazard County.

Just so there's no confusion -- it's the Sorrel Booke version, not the Burt Reynolds version.

-- Posted by interesting on Tue, May 6, 2008, at 8:44 PM

Who do I need to contact to promote my MADE IN CAPE COUNTY products?? Jones, Bock??

-- Posted by monitoringthepulseofcapecounty on Tue, May 6, 2008, at 11:24 PM

So let me get this straight.

They will not show recorded county commissioners meetings on the COUNTY web site. But they WILL allow a government official to advertise his personal wares there?

And that builds credibility how???

-- Posted by hmmm1 on Wed, May 7, 2008, at 1:28 AM

Have any of you all even looked at the website? Swingle is posting his accomplishments, not selling his books. The link allows those who are interested to read the law journals that Swingle and others have written. He is not trying to sell his book. Besides that there is no county computer policy saying anything about what county employees can and cannot do! That is a Purcell made-up lie to make all who will listen distrust the county officials. Actually the person we should not trust is Jay Purcell, the very man who uses the press to start these crazy notions!

-- Posted by RepublicanGal on Wed, May 7, 2008, at 9:41 PM


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