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Town directed to secure e-mails
Attorney representing Town staffer requests copies of more than 8,000 e-mails

Five town of Farragut employees and elected officials have been directed to preserve e-mails they sent or received since Jan. 1, 2005.

A letter sent to Town attorney Tom Hale from David A. Burkhalter II, of Burkhalter, Rayson & Associates, asks that Hale, Town administrator Dan Olson, Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III, Vice Mayor J. Michael “Mike” Haynes and Town Recorder Allison Myers preserve all e-mails that meet certain criteria.

“I sent an e-mail to all the people listed in there notifying them that I had got this letter and asking them to preserve and make sure none of their e-mail was destroyed in accordance with what he was asking,” Hale said.

“You don’t destroy documentation,” he added.

Burkhalter represents Associate Town Administrator Gary Palmer.

The letter requests that all e-mails be preserved that mention Palmer in various capacities, including “any and all complaints he made, any and all grievances he filed, any and all e-mails discussing his performance or any performance issues.”

The letter also asks for any e-mails concerning Olson and “discussing or concerning or mentioning sexual harassment allegations involving Dan Olson, any and all e-mails discussing or concerning or mentioning the discovery of … inappropriate items in Dan Olson’s desk” be saved as well.

Palmer, Ford and Myers had no comments. Haynes did not return a telephone call before press deadline.

“I’ve got no comment on it. I’m just going to have to direct you to Burkhalter,” he said.

“I did write the letter, but I can’t go into any details,” Burkhalter said.

In an attachment to the letter, Burkhalter requested a copy of Olson’s e-mails since 2005, a number Hale said reached about 8,200.

“Eighty-two hundred e-mails: that’s a lot of e-mails to look at,” Hale said.

Olson had no comment.

The only correspondence omitted from the request is e-mails protected by attorney-client privilege or those containing confidential information about Town staff.

“This is just one little offshoot of this discord … We have discord among the staff that we’re trying to work through,” Hale said.

“We’re trying to work through it and look into some of the details.

“Somebody’s trying to use the newspaper to further what they’re trying to do. And that’s making it a little bit hard,” he added.

Hale said the story revealed to farragutpress was incomplete.

“Frankly, nobody really knows the whole story yet. We’re still trying to sort out some of the things that are not untypical kinds of things you find in workplace disagreements,” Hale said.

“Let’s not jump to conclusions. Let’s wait to get all the facts so we fully understand what we’re dealing with.”


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