GOULD – Pamela Barley-Gibson, who has been appointed three times as Gould's recorder-treasurer, and Alderman Harry Hall said they were assaulted Tuesday morning in a city hall confrontation with Mayor Earnest Nash Jr.
GOULD – Pamela Barley-Gibson, who has been appointed three times as Gould’s recorder-treasurer, and Alderman Harry Hall said they were assaulted Tuesday morning in a city hall confrontation with Mayor Earnest Nash Jr.
Barley-Gibson said Nash grabbed her left wrist “and twisted it,” adding her arm was red and bruised after several hours, with an indention in her arm from Nash’s fingernail that pierced through her sweater. “He shoved me out (of the recorder-treasurer’s) office.”
Hall said Nash “caught me off guard and shoved me,” adding his neck was sore later in the day and he plans on seeing a physician Wednesday in Little Rock.
Nash denies the allegations.
“I did not touch Mr. Hall and Ms. Gibson,” Nash told The Commercial. “They illegally entered the recorder-treasurer’s office.”
Nash said the two decided to leave the office and the building.
Clara Jackson, a city hall custodian, said she witnessed the incident and Nash did not assault anyone.
“(Nash) did not push Harry Hall,” Jackson said. “He did nothing to Pam Barley. They was all attacking him. But he didn’t do nothing. He just stood his ground. They gave him a run for his money this morning.”
Locksmith Glen Palmer of Monticello disagreed with Jackson’s account.
“There wasn’t no sense in (Nash) shoving that woman like he did,” Palmer said.
He said he unlocked the door to the recorder-treasurer’s office in preparation to change the locks. When Nash came into city hall, he told him to stop working on the locks and to leave.
“He literally just slung her out of the way, and another guy that was there,” Palmer said.
Palmer said Nash told him to come into his office but Palmer refused.
“I told him where I come from a man don’t lay his hands on a woman. That’s not right,” Palmer said.
Nash disagree with Palmer’s statement.
“That’s a complete lie,” Nash said. “When they walked out the treasurer’s office, I walked out behind them; I locked the door; I closed it. They tried to push me back into the off ice and I just pushed past them, and that was it. I don’t put my hand on women like that, or anybody else.”
Chief Deputy Sheriff David Parker and Lt. Kenneth Davis of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call at Gould City Hall, but “nobody was arrested. Most of it occurred before we got there.”
The chief deputy said he advised Barley-Gibson and Hall they would need to file an affidavit with the district court to initiate a criminal complaint against Nash. He also suggested Barley-Gibson obtain a court order before being able to take office.
Nash said he was talking about the incident with his private attorney on Tuesday afternoon before he decides if he will take any legal action concerning what happened at city hall earlier in the day.
Barley-Gibson was last appointed to the municipal office on Feb. 14 to fill the vacancy created by the Dec. 9 resignation of Mary Prewett. Nash vetoed the appointments made in December, January and on Feb. 14, contending Barley-Gibson is not a resident of Gould.
She said she resides at 709 W. Star, noting the house that once occupied the lot was allowed to burn in mid-2010 when Nash was involved in a dispute with the volunteer fire chief and had changed the locks on the fire station doors. Barley-Gibson said she owns the property and has moved a travel trailer onto the lot and lives in the trailer.
Following the Feb. 14 appointment, the council directed that the following day Barley-Gibson should be furnished keys city hall and the recorder-treasurer’s office. She said Nash approached her the next morning at city hall, handed her a copy of the third veto and “walked away without a word.”
Both Don Zimmerman, executive director of the Arkansas Municipal League, and Mark Hayes, chief legal counsel for the league, maintain Nash had no legal basis for vetoing the appointments three times.
Nash complains that he and three other municipal employees are not being paid because council members authorized to sign checks are refusing to do so. The council meetings, including the Feb. 14 session, have dissolved into shouting matches. As the elected chief executive of the Lincoln County town of 830, Nash said he is only following the law.
Palmer, Barley-Gibson and Hall said after the door was opened, they saw bags of shredded documents in the recorder-treasurer’s office and shredded documents on the floor.
Lincoln County Correspondent John Whipple contributed to this report.