Hardy residents are still trying to sort out the facts and get questions answered following Mayor Jason Jackson’s decision to fire Department of Public Safety Director Scott Rose on Thursday, Jan. 5. Last week, Villager Journal published a story covering the special called meeting held Jan. 5. The council voted to support Mayor Jackson’s decision, but residents still felt left in the dark about the termination.
The mayor has provided Villager Journal with documentation, which he feels shows probable cause to the termination, in addition to the insubordination, which Rose does not deny. This article will identify the documentation and why Jackson feels it is important, as well as Rose’s explanation to the documents.
Fuel receipt: A fuel receipt dated Oct. 1, 2016 was provided with the note, “This is a charge authorized by Scott Rose and charged to the city. Tiffany Fortner has never been an employee of the city and this charge was not approved by the city. Rose refused to come in and discuss discrepancies.” The copy of the receipt for $12.63 also had a handwritten note, “Tiffany Fortner, Hardy Campgrounds, Per- Scott Rose.”
According to Rose, the Fortner’s stayed at the camper park (ran by the Hardy Volunteer Fire Department) this past summer where they were working for free. The gas purchased was for the city owned lawnmower for work to be done at the park, something he approved.
Altus Global Trade Solutions email: At the special called meeting on Jan. 5, Mayor Jackson read a portion of the email which has now been provided to the media. The email stated that Rose’s business, CDS Marketing, was under an investigation concerning a product he had ordered from two of their clients. The amount of money in question was $25,000 for product shipped to third party individuals, businesses and other police departments. Concerns about Hardy being liable for the money were created when the collection company began contacting Hardy City Hall. “My information has it that he [Rose] became the chief of police in Hardy after these transactions had taken place,” the email said.
Though the email clarifies that Rose wasn’t employed in Hardy at the time of the purchases, it doesn’t clarify if the city could be held liable for the money, which is why recorder/treasurer Myranda Hobbs felt it necessary to forward the email to an auditor to review.
Rose said once he took the position in Hardy, he no longer had the time to run his CDS Marketing. “Also even prior to that, when my dad was the chief, I would never sell them anything because I knew it could be a conflict there,” added Rose.
CDS Marketing bill: Another concern of Mayor Jackson’s is that the city hall and police department were receiving bills for CDS Marketing, Rose’s business. The photo of the mail provided to the media shows it is from Grace Communications, Inc. out of North Little Rock. The recipient portion of the envelope said, “CDS Marking LLC. Att.: Accounts Payable, 124 Woodland Hills Dr., Hardy, Ark. 72542.” The concern is that Rose was operating his business out of city property.
Rose said this was not the case. Grace Communications is the company Rose was working with when trying to find a better solution for radio communications in the area. The company was familiar to Rose as he had worked with them previously in Jonesboro. “They put the city hall as my address back when they were up here working with me…I was in the process of moving and did not know by address,” Rose explained. He said the bill was something that had been overlooked, and the use of city hall’s address was a one time use so that they could send the bill.
Agreement to pay Fulton County Sheriff’s Office: Another piece of documentation provided was a screenshot of text messages between Jackson and Rose from June 2016. Rose had been employed with Hardy for approximately four months and Jackson was serving as a councilman at the time. Rose owed money, as a businessman not police chief, to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office for equipment they had ordered and paid for, but never received. “If he [Rose] did not have his equipment or money, he would file a warrant for his arrest,” said the description of the screenshot. Jackson paid the money owed to prevent the chief from being arrested on June 24.
Villager Journal contacted Fulton County Sheriff Al Roork, who was chief deputy at the time. “We had bought lights from Scott before without any problems,” said Roork. “So we ordered another set of lights [through him], but this time we had difficulty getting them. I got to calling and I couldn’t reach Scott, he wouldn’t return my calls. I got concerned because we had paid the invoice already and didn’t have the lights. It was taxpayer’s money, so we had to have it back. We had to have the money that day or there would be ramifications, so Jason came and paid.”
The first time Fulton County ordered lights from Rose, he was not working in Hardy. The second time they ordered, and when they encountered the issues, he was DPS Director in Hardy.
Signed statements from two individuals on two different issues, but both involving Rose, were also provided for review. One statement is from a part-time Hardy police officer who explained Rose tried giving away city property (old lightbars and police car equipment) as trade for work on the city vehicles. “I advised [Rose] I wanted no compensation [for the repairs],” the statement said. The officer stated feeling uncomfortable accepting the parts, but told Rose it would be stored for the city should they need the equipment. Since Rose’s termination, interium chief Tamara Taylor and Mayor Jackson have been notified of the equipment’s location.
The second statement is a threat to sue the city of Hardy based on Rose’s actions as a police officer. When the individual made the threat, Mayor Jackson talked to Rose about the issue, but the behavior didn’t stop. The issues are of a personal nature, but is also something that could affect the city of Hardy in terms of a potential lawsuit.
Rose has been working with the media to tell his side of the story and has made it no secret that he has hired an attorney at this point. His reason for hiring an attorney is to be proactive, “protecting myself from being charged for a crime I didn’t committ basically since he accused me of it,” said Rose. He isn’t asking for his job with the city back, but he is supporting the people of Hardy who would like to see a special election happen to vote for a mayor. “I want him to stop defaming my character and to step down and I want the council to recognize the public clearly wants a special election and allow the citizens of Hardy to decide who they want to run their city,” said Rose.
As a result of the controversy surrounding this issue, Hollie Greenway, city attorney for Hardy, has stepped away from all issues concerning Rose. “Since the termination of Chief Rose, I have been receiving a lot of phone calls from the press and FOIA requests. At this time, I have not received any of the requested information to respond to the FOIA requests. It has come to my attention that Mr. Rose is now making personal allegations against myself; therefore, I believe it would be in everyone’s best interest that I exclude myself from any matters involving Mr. Rose. I will forward any FOIA requests received to the Mayor and Recorder/Treasurer,” said Greenway in a letter to Hardy City Council members.
Mayor Jackson told the media at press time he planned to turn over all information to the Arkansas State Police for investigation on Tuesday, Jan. 17.