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Purcell to ask prosecutor to take books off website before asking for commission vote

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jay Purcell made a conciliatory gesture Thursday morning to Cape Girardeau's presiding commissioner, talking about moving past egos and lingering personality conflicts and resolving disagreements in a civil manner.

Still, Purcell, Cape Girar­deau County's 2nd District commissioner, brought up a longstanding disagreement with the county prosecutor Morley Swingle over his books being promoted on the county's website. Pictures of the novels' covers link to the Mystery Writers of America website, which describes the books.

Although Swingle initially said he would speak about the issue at Thursday's commission meeting, he canceled the appearance to prepare for the preliminary hearing in the case of accused rapist Mitchell T. West.

Presiding Commissioner Gerald Jones asked Purcell if he planned to make a motion to remove the books from the county website, but Purcell instead asked to address the commission.

Jones agreed.

Purcell said he'd spent two hours on the phone Wednesday night talking to another county official — "not a commissioner, so it wasn't a secret meeting" — about the controversies.

Purcell spoke for more than five minutes. He recapped events since May 5, when he voted against three motions: to allow Swingle to leave the books online, to restrict commissioners' access to certain department heads and a motion to reassign most of Purcell's responsibilities as a commissioner. All three measures passed with 2-to-1 votes. Last week, Purcell was reinstated as the commissioner overseeing the parks and public works departments. All three commissioners are now responsible for information technology, which until May had been Purcell's responsibility.

"It has to quit being about 'I won, you lost,'" Purcell said.

Purcell said after Tuesday's conversation with the unnamed county official about controversies, he didn't want to force a vote on Swingle's book page. Instead, he said, he would e-mail Swingle asking him to consider removing the links himself. If he doesn't, Purcell said he would ask for a vote but would drop the matter if outvoted because "that's the way democracy works."

Swingle, contacted later, said he didn't intend to remove the books "because they belong there."

He said the only reason his novels were more prominent than the legal-related books and articles on the webpage is that they were the most recent additions. He said he plans to update the site soon.

Purcell also offered a direct apology to Jones for recording a private conversation of a trip the two men took to Jefferson City, Mo., on Feb. 3. Jones said after the meeting "it was very big" of Purcell to apologize. Asked if there was any way to resolve the Sunshine Law suit Purcell filed against the commission in May, Jones said if he knew how, "it would be done."

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

388-3646


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Nothing more than another PI-SS-NG match with Purcell smack dab in the center! Come on boys, get some serious County buisness acomplished and leave the Swingles book promotion where its at. It probably does more good than harm anyway.

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 8:45 AM

Those books don't "belong there" -- take them off. It shouldn't have even come to this point, it's a blatant misuse of taxpayer funded property and highly improper. Swingle can get his own website and promote his own self.

-- Posted by TommyStix on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 9:34 AM

Greywolf is an idiot. It is an ABSOLUTE misuse of taxpayer dollars to promote a business that puts private revenue in the pocket of the prosecutor. Hey...can I advertise my lawnmowing business on the county website? This is such an ethical and a transparency issue. There should be a public outcry. Morley "Swindle" is a low class John Grisham wanna be peddling his jams, jellies, books, and ties. Purcell is right on with his objection to using taxpayer dollars to advertise a private venture to put money in an elected official's pocket. It's really hard to believe that such a highly educated man like Swingle can't see that it is wrong. But, like my Dad used to say, there is a big difference between being educated and being smart. What an arrogant, pretentious, self-serving a**hole.

-- Posted by JarHead1 on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 10:21 AM

JarHead--

You nailed it. There's no doubt Swingle is a smart guy, but he's so lost in his pretentious, self-absorbed world that he thinks it's perfectly ethical and legal to promote his own book on a county website.

Get your own website, Morley Swingle. Nobody cares about scoundrels, hoosegow, or your pitiful take on the gold of Cape Girardeau. We're much more concerned that you do the job you were sworn in to do and stop being a self-serving sociopath.

-- Posted by John R Cash on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 10:39 AM

Jarhead, resorts to "name calling"!

How very mature you are Son. Perhaps you

should run for Purcells job when his term runs out.

You two seem to have a lot in common concerning p-ss-ing matches.Grow up and learn respect, because if you truely were a "jarhead" (marine in my book) you would have learned better debating skills.

This issue is a waste of my tax money. Much more pressing issues in this County than that need attention. Perhaps Swingle can shed some light on why he has this promotion on the web sight. Why not wait to hear from him before you act like you know it all.

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 11:17 AM

When someone says, "there are more important issues that need to be looked at", it usually means "OOPS--you got me!"

There's no valid reason to use a public resource for personal gain. Websites are inexpensive to purchase and quick to set up. Let him buy his own website and put a link to it if he wants, making it clear that his personal website is not connected to the County's.

-- Posted by Duh... on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 12:36 PM

Duh said,"When someone says, "there are more important issues that need to be looked at", it usually means "OOPS--you got me!"....what in the heck are you talking about?. No one has the Wolf. I am tired of all these pis--ng matches between these clowns.

I have to wonder if this book being on the County website has incresed the traffic and brought some positive attention to the County. I read this book cover to cover and although it wasn't that great it did have some good Cape history within it.Until I hear what Swingle has to say as to why his book should stay on the County website I will not pass judgement.

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 1:11 PM

And when someone posts something under the pretense of having a legitimate gripe and then proceeds into a barely intelligible ad-hominem tirade, im pretty sure thats code for: "Hi im jay purcel's best buddy."

-- Posted by J_bob on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 1:11 PM

Two of our three debating side are correct in this matter.

There are bigger and more important issues to be addressed by "our" county commission.

NO one should be aloud to promote on "our" county's web site for their own profit.

Swingle should man up and voluntarily remove these links himself knowing that there is controversary and we can get back to the county business at hand.

-- Posted by grandma73 on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 1:19 PM

I'm sorry - but I think it's very tacky & redneckish

for Swingle to advertise his personal books on the

county website. It does leave the impression that

he's using the county website for his own personal

gain. It would seem more ethical to put this

on his own website and possibly include a link

to that site.

For someone that is supposed to be defending the

ethics & morals of the people of the county - he

seems to be setting a bad precedence. Seems like

do as I say and not as I do?

I would think someone in a position such as his

would have a little more respect. At the very least -

there should be a note that the county is not

endorsing these publications and move them to his

personal biography section.

This is leaving the door open for any county official

that runs a business on the side to advertise on

the site for free as well. If that's the case -

then it should be a scrolling banner & they should charge for it.

-- Posted by ShowMeGuy on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 1:55 PM

Why is it considered by some folks that it's ok for Swingle to promote his books on the County website, but would it be ok if Purcell promoted his bed and breakfast on the county website? I mean, his bed and breakfast IS in a historical house in Cape County isn't it? I'm sure there's a STORY that can be told about the house that houses his bed and breakfast, etc. etc. Same goes with Boss Hogg -- would it be ok for him to promote his Cash Book Journal Newspaper on the website?

-- Posted by TommyStix on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 2:07 PM

Greywolf...you obviously don't see the big picture therefore my observation would be correct. It's not necessarily that the direct cost is substantial, it's the indirect cost. The fact that we can't trust the people at the top to be honest representatives for the people and not in their positions to line their pockets. That's the indirect cost. This issue is probably the tip of the iceberg when it comes to issues of ethics, transparency, insider deals, bribes, and favors. Think about it, man...the big picture.

-- Posted by JarHead1 on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 2:15 PM

And when someone posts something under the pretense of having a legitimate gripe and then proceeds into a barely intelligible ad-hominem tirade, im pretty sure thats code for: "Hi im jay purcel's best buddy."

-- Posted by J_bob on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, 12:11 pm CDT

J_Bob...Now that is funny! JP is nothing but a whinging little prat!

-- Posted by Megalomania on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 3:43 PM

Jarhead, you said "Greywolf...you obviously don't see the big picture therefore my observation would be correct.

When did you observe me do anything to justify calling me personally an "Idoit"?...You may have read something I wrote that you disagree with however, you don't know me so your conclusion that I am an idiot has no merit. I see the big picture son, I am paying them dearly to the tune of well over 60 grand a year and I expect WORK to be done instead of a three ring circus and pis matches!

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 3:57 PM

So...Has Purcell asked him yet? And what was the answer?

Here's that conversation as I see it going down.

Purcell: "Morley...All hard feelings aside, and in trying to move on, and letting by-gones be by-gones. And to put an end to the "I won, you won" one-ups-manship, would you remove your books from the county website?"

Morley: "No!"

*Morley walks on down the hall*

*Purcell pulls out tape recorder* ~click~

Purcell: "Got ya!"

-- Posted by Megalomania on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 6:15 PM

The "idiot" comment was a bit strong, jarhead.

-- Posted by grandma73 on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 7:28 PM

Readers and posters:

I asked Purcell yesterday if he had emailed Swingle and was told "not yet." I asked for a copy of that email if and when it is sent, as that would be a public document.

Also, to hear what Purcell, Swingle and Jones have to say -- in their own words -- click on the audio recording links at the top of this story.

-- Posted by Peg McNichol on Sat, Jan 17, 2009, at 1:34 PM


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