UPDATE, 4/13/2015, 6:31PM: All of the documentation regarding the taxpayer money used by Marshal Countryman to attend a conference at the Tucson Hilton El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort can be found here: Countryman Tucson Expenses. Please note that Countryman requested the full per diem prior to traveling despite the fact that two meals a day were being provided by the conference organizers. Countryman cited health reasons for requiring food other than what was being provided, and at additional expense to the city. These documents were provided to me by the Columbus city attorney in response to my request. This trip alone would have covered the supplemental budget request Countryman made last year to cover the “overrun” his department had on fuel expenses. Now I am curious about just how much traveling Marshal Countryman has been doing at our expense. THAT blog will be coming soon. Stay tuned.
UPDATE, 4/13/2015, 4:25PM: CONFIRMED!! Marshal Countryman’s trip to the Tucson Hilton El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort was paid in full with taxpayer money. The documents I have received from the city attorney reflect a cost of over $2000 for Marshal Countryman’s week at the Arizona resort. I am working to make those documents available on this website. Keep checking back for new information on this evolving story!
After attorneys for Countryman and Creighton-Bishop filed yet another motion against Mayor Tomlinson, City Manager Hugley and Columbus City Council on Friday, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer contacted Marshal Countryman for comment. The quote from Countryman was noted to have been “said by phone while attending a conference in Tucson, Ariz.” Well, that made me wonder. Why would a marshal who says he doesn’t have enough money to run his office be in Tucson? A quick search found the only event being held in Tucson last week that it could have been, the National Constables and Marshals Association conference being held at Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort. That’s right…Countryman called from what I assume is a taxpayer-funded stay at a four-star resort to justify his taxpayer-funded lawsuit to get more taxpayer money. This must be SOME conference. I looked into what critical training they must be offering, and I managed to be shocked despite my low expectations.
First of all, most of the materials related to the conference seemed to be promoting the resort it was being held at as much as the conference itself. The registration form for the conference (found here) proudly pictures past attendees such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former Governor Jan Brewer. But even *they* were below a border-to-border photo of the gorgeous Hilton El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort. As you can see, the promotional poster above highlights the golf, food, gaming, and shopping available to attendees, but not one single word about any other reason for the conference.
You would imagine that a robust offering of classes would be available at a four-day event. Yeah…not so much. Four days, SIX classes. I’m tempted to think there weren’t any afternoon sessions. And what critical training these six classes offered. Internet research, which I guess is basically how to Google. Maybe I can show them how you figure out when your marshal is phoning in his lawsuit from a four-star resort. Then there is a class on mandatory reporting. I don’t understand why this even requires a class. You are a mandatory reporter. You ALWAYS report. It is mandatory. But by far my favorite was a little gem entitled, “What You Do Matters.” I actually thought that might be something worthwhile until I read the following description:
“This course examines policing within the legal and political framework of Nazi Germany, a journey that eventually turned those who should protect life and liberty into those who intimidated, humiliated, deported, and eventually murdered millions of innocent people? Using historical images and stories from the holocaust, the course utilizes trained facilitators to engage students in a dialogue about the role of law enforcement in today’s communities and the importance of core values in ensuring the integrity and vibrancy of democracy.”
Ummmm…WTF? Why does it always end back up at the damn Nazis? And exactly what “core values” are they talking about? Because I didn’t see the word “constitution” ANYWHERE in that description. We are paying for Marshal Countryman to go to Arizona and learn how to NOT be a Nazi? SERIOUSLY?
Meanwhile, Creighton-Bishop told WTVM‘s Roslyn Giles that she did not sign any legal documentation toward a second motion on Friday, and was “shocked” to see her name associated with this recent legal paperwork.
Anywhooo…I hope Marshal Countryman didn’t miss his tee time. A guy could sue someone over stuff like that.
Peace and Love, Yall