Newton County Sheriff Ron Doerge's alleged wrongdoings during the election to choose his successor is a likely topic when the Missouri Ethics Commission meets in closed session Thursday, Dec. 16.
The meeting will be a teleconference. The preliminary agenda lists no starting time. The only items listed are:
1. Call meeting to order
2. Vote on agenda
3. Minutes of the Nov. 4 and Nov. 9 meetings
4. Opinion requests from Ms. Betty Scott and Mr. Eric Cunningham, then:
5. Adjourn to closed session
The closed session, according to the agenda is "for the purposes of discussing confidential or privileged information and to discuss investigations which are protected from disclosure by law.
Doerge himself confirmed that he Ethics Commission were investigators were recently in Newton County and at the sheriff's office.
The new media has played a key role in bringing news of Doerge's alleged misdeeds to light, to the public, the attorney general's office and to the Ethics Commission, as well as finally getting the Neosho Daily News and The Joplin Globe to take a look, albeit brief and unsatisfactory, into the mess that has surrounded Doerge.
Neoshoforums.com , an independently operated message board, printed a copy of a complaint to the Missouri Ethics Commission against Doerge, claiming Doerge created a fictional group to seek information against Republican sheriff candidates that could be used to support Doerge's personally-anointed candidate Kenneth Copeland. Copeland, of course, was elected overwhelmingly by Newton County voters in November.
Neoshoforums.com also featured an excerpt from an audiotape in which Doerge used profane language and vowed to take action against traitors in his department.Doerge, in his response to the Neosho Daily News, the first traditional media outlet to run the story, and The Globe insisted the ethics complaint was an action by a "disgruntled former employee" and he insisted that he never uses profanity.
A spokesman for K-Mart is reported to have said, "If we had as many shoppers as Ron Doerge has disgruntled former employees, we could bury Wal-Mart."
A spokesman for Wal-Mart offered no response to that comment, but claimed he could hire lower-priced disgruntled employees in China.