known in the past for collecting more
than anyone on the city payroll, Cookeville police Chief Bob
Terry now has a new claim to fame: he uses the city's computer system
and Internet account to distribute pornographic images to other government
employees, including District Attorney William Gibson, The Putnam Pit has
a Cookeville city council meeting Thursday, Feb. 17, the council was handed
copies of email sent from Terry to Gibson and others, depicting a close-up
graphic of a cigar in a woman's vagina and the words: The Monica Lewinsky
Humidor . . . there's nothing like a good smoke after an Oval Office
poke . . .
Two years ago, a city employee was fired
for browsing to porno sites on city computer equipment, and Cookeville
taxpayers have spent tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to keep
secret what dozens of government employees do with their computers at work.
Testimony in January disclosed that City
Manager Jim Shipley's computer operations manager was ordered to run from
the building so he would not be present to provide records.
Meanwhile, the city has refused to allow
remote access to its email system.
On Thursday, The council responded by lashing
out at the messenger and avoiding the central issue: There is selective
enforcement of laws and policies.
In another issue involving Terry, the city
has refused to release records of a police department scandal stemming
from transmission of sexual messages between a female city employee and
the police chief.
The chief and the woman are not under investigation.
But Sheila Holloway, a police department employee who discovered the messages
and reported the abuse of city equipment, was named in an internal affairs
inquiry. While the "investigation" continues, Terry can keep the record
of his own sexual correspondence secret. The female employee whose correspondence
via alphanumeric pager was discovered by Holloway, suddenly 'resigned'
after Shipley reportedly told her, "either you or Terry has to go."
At Thursday's meeting, Councilman Steve
Copeland asked: Can't you find one good thing to say about Cookeville?
The answer: "Well, you are a very forgiving
"Put that in your paper," Copeland said.
The Putnam Pit obtained the complete email
system of the Cookeville government and has offered for months to meet
with the council and share the information. On Thursday, council members
denied they had been contacted or invited to meet, although Copeland acknowledged
a meeting last year on unrelated topics. All electronic communication to
council members is first filtered through Shipley's office.
After the meeting, Councilman Harold Jackson
told The Pit's lawyer, Samuel J. Harris, that he has his "nose up (editor
Geoff Davidian's) ass,” then attempted to have Harris arrested -- by Terry.