Arriola: 'Not Proud of What Happened on St. Patrick's Day'
Here is the statement released by Davidson County Clerk John Arriola:
The last 24 hours I have conducted an internal investigation into the presence of a token machine in our office that was revealed by Channel 5 reporter Phil Williams.
To create a good work environment that results in good service for taxpayers, some members of my staff pushed the envelope that created the appearance of inappropriate activity.
I approved St. Patrick decorations at our office, but I did not approve the game and didn't know about it until the afternoon of St. Patrick's Day. Here is what I've learned from my investigation so far:
1) No taxpayer money was involved.
2) We have found no legal or ethical guidelines that were violated.
3) The token machine was legal and brought in by a member of my staff, Kelly Farmer.
4) Kelly Farmer gave employees a total of twenty-five dollars. These were his personal funds, not taxpayer money.
Even though I did not know this was happening and even though everything was technically legal and ethical, it should not have happened and I take full responsibility.
Here are the actions I have taken to deal with this matter:
1) I have suspended Deputy Clerk Joey Workman without pay, for inappropriately pushing a news reporter out of a break room at the clerk's office.
2) I have suspended Kelly Farmer without pay, for bringing the machine into the office.
3) I will have a policy in place that bans any of these machines from this office.
4) I have personally apologized to Mr. Phil Williams for Mr. Workman's actions.
5) I have also directed Mr. Workman to apologize to Mr. Williams.
As soon as I have all the facts, I will release them and take further action if needed.
The people of Davidson County expect the County Clerk's office to operate with efficiency and integrity. I take full responsibility for the actions of my employees and will act quickly to make sure that even the appearance of impropriety is eliminated.
I hope this mistake on one day does not overshadow the record of innovation and efficiency of our office over the last three and half years. We have done more with less as our budget continues to be cut. We have taken vehicle registration and other services online to save taxpayers time and money.
I'm not proud of what happened on St. Patrick's Day, but I am proud of our accomplishments.