4. Gould Political Skirmishes Continue

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Political skirmishes in Gould continued in 2012 with Gould Mayor Earnest Nash Jr. convicted of battery of the city’s recorder-treasurer and facing a number of charges related to his performance in office, and a judge ordering two Gould City Council members removed from office.

In March, just over a month after Nash was arrested on battery charges in connection with an incident at Gould City Hall, he found himself charged with felony and misdemeanor crimes associated with his performance in office.

The battery charges stemmed from a February 21 incident in which then-Alderman Harry Hall and Pamela Barley-Gibson, the city’s recorder-treasurer, said Nash assaulted them. Barley-Gibson said Nash grabbed and twisted her wrist and shoved her out of the treasurer’s office and Hall said Nash shoved him.

The following month, the mayor was charged with obstructing governmental operations, theft of property, abuse of office and two counts of nonfeasance in office.

The charges allege Nash obstructed governmental operations in Gould beginning by hindering the performance of the office of Pamela Barley-Gibson, the city’s recorder-treasurer; prohibited Barley-Gibson from taking office and performing her duties; authorized payments from the city’s general fund and a disaster fund in violation of a municipal ordinance; and while previously serving as City Court clerk altered court records without authorization, converted $520 of court monies to his own use and abused the office of court clerk by falsifying court records.

Nash was convicted of third-degree battery for the assault on Barley-Gibson and a mistrial was declared in the case involving his performance in office. That case set for trial in February. If convicted of nonfeasance in office, Nash could be barred from holding public office.

Meanwhile, Circuit Judge Rob Wyatt ordered two Gould City Council members removed from office because they were serving illegally.

Aldermen Roseanna Smith-Lee and Harry Hall were removed from the council in response to a July 2011 civil suit filed by the Gould Citizens Advisory Council and two supporters of the mayor. They maintained that Hall is a convicted felon and Smith-Lee was not a resident of the ward she was elected to represent.

“Gould Woes” was No. 5 on Seark Today’s top stories in 2011.