11/21/07 — SBI will examine Pikeville's books

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SBI will examine Pikeville's books

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on November 21, 2007 1:46 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Pikeville town commissioners suspended town clerk Kathie Fields with pay Tuesday night as an investigation into certain financial transactions begins.

Some of Pikeville's town records have already been seized and kept under lock and key by Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders, officials said.

Data on computer hard drives in the town's computers will also be imaged for the State Bureau of Investigation's "preliminary inquiry," Mayor Herbert Sieger said.

Mrs. Fields said through her husband, Randy, on Tuesday night that "she has not knowingly done anything wrong."

Mrs. Fields did not yet know the details of the allegations lobbied against her, her husband added.

Pikeville commissioners approved a resolution at Tuesday's special meeting assuring law enforcement they would fully comply with the investigation.

After a closed session at 5 p.m., Commissioner Lyman Galloway showed his displeasure with the decision to suspend Mrs. Fields.

Sources close to the investigation said Galloway asked that Mrs. Fields be returned to her position, and took allegations against her as an insult.

He told other commissioners that he would not be in contact with them as a result of the inquiry.

"Don't call me for the time of day or nothing. Open the damn door to the safe and turn it loose," Galloway said in a small town hall meeting room in front of news media and other commissioners.

Galloway said he "will not be signing any more checks if there's a question about my integrity."

Sieger said he did not think that the inquiry had anything to do with Galloway's integrity.

During the suspension, town officials will use temporary help to perform Mrs. Fields' duties, the mayor said.

Commissioners also passed a resolution that all media inquiries into the matter would be handled by the mayor, at the request of Commissioner Al Greene.

"Instead of having five commissioners answer the thing" answers should come from one source, Greene said. "If the press has got a question, then they can come talk to the mayor."

Greene initially wanted the resolution to also apply to investigators. But other commissioners disagreed because they said that would conflict with their promise to comply fully with the investigation.

Commissioner Johnny Weaver, who did not seek re-election in November, said he would not be bound by any gag restriction when his term ends in a few weeks.

"If you all want to tie yourself down, that's fine," Weaver said. "But it won't restrain me after next week. I'm free with what I want to say."

Winders said he could not comment on the record about the investigation.

"They (commissioners) needed some help on the situation, and we assisted in gathering some documents for them," he said. "I gave them some help in contacting the proper authorities."