Tears and Laughter: Wilcox County, the land of green and crazy

Remember the near freakshow Wilcox County put on back in 2014 when we rallied together and completely changed the makeup of the corrupt county commission that was in office? All three commissioners who were running for reelection were defeated by their opponents, including then chairman, Michael Saulsberry, who was later indicted for adjusting his water bill. The vacant chairman seat was filled by John Moton Jr., who was serving his second term. Impact Wilcox – the citizen’s group presided over by former commissioner, John Matthews – who had organized, motivated, and financed in part the push to change the commission, did a victory lap.  Free from corruption, hope washed over Wilcox County like pouring rain.

All of that is over. I don’t know that I would describe the new commission corrupt. I mean, District Five’s Commissioner, Ricky Powell, was found not to live in the district he serves, but he is appealing that decision to Montgomery.  I’m not even saying that innocent little oversight falls into the corruption category. What I’m saying is that the commission has become so dysfunctional nobody can tell. It seems to be severely misguided.

In recent weeks, Chairman Moton has made the front page of the Wilcox Progressive Era several times. He had been employed as a teacher and a coach with the Wilcox County School System. The Alabama Board of Education revoked Moton’s teaching certificate February 19, 2016 after a lengthy investigation conducted by Alabama State Board of Education investigators.

Alabama needs its teachers. The State Board of Education only revokes certificates for two reasons, immoral conduct or indecent behavior. Within a matter of days after his teaching certificate was revoked by the state, the Wilcox County Board of Education also ended their contract with Moton.

Last week Moton made another cameo appearance because he was quietly arrested after fellow commissioner, Marion McIntosh, filed charges against him for menacing. Moton had threatened McIntosh after the April 25 commission meeting saying he wanted to, “bust him in the head.”

Moton does have a colorful manner of speaking. He told another commissioner, Joey Green, he would cut his head off. On the local radio station he owns, Moton refers to other commissioners, everyone with the Progressive Era, and anyone else who may disagree with him as “the enemy.” It is not just different political opinions in Wilcox County. He is the chosen one, he says, and anyone who doesn’t see things his way is evidently “evil.” He once said I was a deliverer of evil because of a column. I’m not sure what God he thinks we all serve. We are as Christian as he is.

Moton said a prayer for this county last week, after laughing like a hyena over his arrest. He said for seven days in a row he has been driving around the county and back into Camden. I think the circling of the county is supposed to have some kind of Biblical significance. Some people feel his arrest was significant too. It doesn’t represent us well and is far from professional.

His station is raising money to pay for a new tower that will allow it to transmit its broadcasting further. Thomasville or Monroeville or Linden may not care to hear much about Wilcox County politics, other than for entertainment purposes, but if they can stand to listen to it for even just a few minutes…it is going to make them feel so much better about themselves.

Amanda Walker is a columnist with The West Alabama Watchman, Al.com, The Thomasville Times, and The Wilcox Progressive Era. For more information, visit her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist.