David Arnold letter to editor
Published 12:00 am Friday, August 17, 2007
‘Hell coming with me’ former county employee vows following suit settlement
Yes, I did settle my lawsuit with Panola County for wrongfully firing me after working for the road department for 17 years.
Yes, I did have to agree not to tell the amount of the settlement.
I did not have to agree not to tell everything I know about what happened.
I was hired (by a different administration) for two reasons: to pave county roads and to cut down on suspected time clock fraud and the placing of gravel and culverts on private property. Everything that I ever saw I was ordered to report to the county administrator and he was to take care of that.
Over the years there were plenty of problems that were taken care of and plenty of tax dollars saved by me doing the job. Down through the years I had worked closely with David Chandler about road department work and we got a lot of work done. I also worked closely with a lot of road managers that cared.
After some of the present administration showed up, things started changing around the county. Seems like to me that the majority of the board does not care even whether somebody steals or even does sorry work. I have always wanted to get plenty of work done and good work done.
Over the years I did way more than I was hired to do. During the summer of the 2003 election while paving in District Four I was asked about paving South Central Academy. I went to look at it and it was in bad shape, soft places, poor drainage, not enough gravel. The supervisor told me to pave it anyway. The road lasted six months and fell to pieces. Ask the people who live on the road.
Since then, many miles in District Four have been paved the same way. I really don’t understand why. District Four has had one sore subject road that was paved 25 years ago the same way — the Mt. Olivet Road. Ever since I have worked for the county, other supervisors have said we don’t need another Mt. Olivet Road.
The other four districts have always let me try to build their roads the right way. Once in a while we have had a road or two failing in a spot, but I had no suspicion that these spots were bad until they showed up later. There is one supervisor who always agreed with me. That was Robert Avant. He did not care for a lot of miles; all he wanted was to be built right.
The day that it was reported to me about the culverts in Wildwood Subdivision, I called James Birge, District One supervisor, and told him. He and I went to look and we agreed that these culverts were actually on private property. James asked me to call two more supervisors and tell them what I heard and what we saw.
I did what he told me and the very next day I was fired by the road manager. He told me that he couldn’t get me to keep my mouth shut.
Well, I have found out over the years that you can talk about anything that’s right, but now if it’s wrong, some of our present administration would rather you keep your mouth shut.
I want the Panola County Road Department to know one thing. There are at least two good, honest, wealthy men in our county that want things to straighten up. These men have furnished me with a vehicle, credit card for gas and a trunk load of cameras. Anybody doing right has no problem; anybody doing wrong has a lot of problems. I, David Arnold want to tell you that I am coming and that hell is coming with me.
/s/ David Arnold.