Tuesday, September 13, 2016

EDITORIAL >> Candidate may be disqualified

Folks in Beebe are wondering if city council candidate Joe Morgan may be disqualified from running for office because of a theft conviction.

Morgan, 35, is running for the Ward 3, Position 1 seat held by Alderman Matt Dugger, who is seeking re-election in November.

According to our reporter Jeffrey Smith in The Leader on Saturday, Morgan filed a petition with White County District Court on Sept. 2 to seal the records of his criminal conviction that he believes restores his eligibility to hold office.

Morgan was found guilty of theft of property, a Class-A misdemeanor, in August 2013 in Searcy District Court. Morgan was fined $1,000, sentenced to 20 days of community service and one year of supervised probation.

The victim told Searcy police in October 2012 that he loaned Morgan a Taurus .38 Special handgun Morgan needed for his security job. The victim said he couldn’t get his gun back or any money from Morgan, who allegedly pawned the weapon at Guns Plus in Searcy. The gun was later sold at a Conway gun show for $400.

Morgan works for the Arkansas Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America as safety director and manager of education and training. Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed Morgan to the Arkansas Apprenticeship Coordination Steering Committee. He also serves on the Little Rock Workforce Development Board. His theft conviction might disqualify him from both positions. A White County judge needs to rule before November on whether Morgan is eligible to run for public office. Someone should also seek an attorney general’s opinion on whether Morgan is qualified to serve on public boards.