Tri-City Ledger -

By Gretchen McPherson
Ledger Editor 

Husband mad over release of private info

Cell phone number of Century correctional officer is posted online

 

June 21, 2018



“Ignorance of the state law is not a reason to break it,” said Century resident Michael Jones at Monday night's council meeting. “A 28-year town clerk said only information that should be public is only what the town should print. Two lawyers from Pensacola said they would take the case.”

An upset Jones approached the Century town council to complain that his wife's personal information on a rental contract for a building in Century was released to the media and published.

Jones noted at the council meeting that his wife's personal information, including her cell phone number and post office box number, was posted on northescambia.com.

“My wife works as a correctional officer at Century Correctional,” said Jones. “Now all those prisoners have her cell phone number. She calls me when the dog barks. She sleeps with a pistol under the mattress. My wife shouldn't have to live like that.”

At an earlier council meeting, Jones' wife approached the council following an incident involving a dinner scheduled at the Century Community Center in May given for her nephews and their classmates' graduation. Jones was upset that law enforcement came to the event, directed by Century Mayor Henry Hawkins, who said he saw a flyer on social media that advertised the event as a 'party' and an entry fee.

Jones told the council that the officers did their job and discovered no violations of the contract. Jones was upset that what she planned to be a celebratory occasion was tainted because the mayor did not simply pick up the phone and call her to let her know there may be an issue.

Councilman Luis Gomez had been tapped to DJ the event but said he backed out when he found out that there was a charge to enter. Jones said that his wife's sister had posted that on social media and that he and his wife were not responsible for what other people posted.

Jones said that he had heard second hand that a council member referred to his wife as 'stupid' after the meeting when she made the complaint, saying that the misunderstanding about the event was evidence to her that the town leaders 'could not articulate.'

“Your sister opened a Pandora's Box,” said Hawkins. “There was no problem Saturday night. The problem came Monday when your sister came in here. She made you and me look stupid.”

Jones said later that he had not brought up the event that caused the release of personal information, but once Councilman Gomez brought it up, he was prepared to address it.

“Come get it from my mouth,” said Gomez. “Not the next man, second hand. Your sister came up here and talked. I agreed to DJ a dinner. When I saw on Facebook the word 'party' and that they were charging, it presented a conflict of interest for me. I asked her to call me and got no response.”

Jones presented a Florida statute that prohibits the release of personal information of members of law enforcement, correctional officers and others.

“Let me close this chapter,” said Hawkins. “We already said we will take care of that issue, and we will take care of it. We have implemented policies so that this will never happen again.”

Councilman Gary Riley apologized to Jones, assuring him, “We will do all we can for this not to happen.”

When asked if his wife had filed a formal complaint against the town, Jones said no.

“She hasn't filed an official complaint yet, but she may have to because of her job,” said Jones. “I cant file it, she has to file it. And even though the form just showed her post office number instead of her home address, who's to say she could be followed when she checks her mail?”

 
 

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