A short time after his resignation from the City of Morton, the Board of Lewis County Commissioners (BOCC) was made aware of concerns surrounding former police chief Roger Morningstar during public comment from the 25- to 28-minute mark of the June 27 meeting.
Commissioner Sean Swope directly confirmed to the speaker at that time that Morningstar was still an active member of the county’s veterans advisory board.
The speaker then explicitly stated to the BOCC: "Supporting his continued affiliation with Lewis County in any form will now reflect upon those who are responsible for it." The speaker asked the BOCC how to ensure Morningstar is removed from any county affiliation. The speaker was respectful, calm, rational and polite. To my knowledge, no action was taken by the BOCC after this public comment. In the months since that request, further information was released documenting disgraced former police Chief Morningstar’s history as a known groomer and serial sexual harasser who should have never been hired to begin with.
Morningstar was only removed from his county appointed position on Aug. 31 — over two months after the BOCC was asked to remove him and only after they first removed Carol Brock from a seniors advisory board. Conversely, when Brock poorly stated the guidelines she was trying to reassert, The Chronicle posted multiple articles including a publisher’s note on people’s misinterpretation of the subject and the county removed Brock from her advisory position in a matter of weeks.
The hypocrisy when dogpiling onto Brock, a political adversary to some on the BOCC, while leaving Morningstar, a campaign affiliate to some on the BOCC, is pretty glaring. Moments versus months.
Morningstar was heavily connected to Commissioner Scott Brummer's election campaign and I believe he was a supporter of Swope. Swope was publicly thanked for helping Morningstar “run people out of Morton” while Swope was campaigning, an incident briefly mentioned in Morningstar’s Criminal Justice Training Commission report. Additionally, Morningstar was invited and gave a speech at Brummer’s campaign kick off — enough of an affiliate to be given a keynote speaking slot at opening ceremonies.
Are members of the BOCC weaponizing their platform in moments of selective outrage by targeting political adversaries for removal and mudslinging while conveniently twiddling their thumbs and whistling at the sky when far more egregious behaviors and actual crimes are perpetrated by their campaign affiliates and card-carrying members of the good ol’ boys club?
In all of Commissioner Swope’s grandstanding about “grooming behavior” and “groomers,” I can’t help but notice that he failed to vet the people he rubs shoulders with sitting on his advisory boards and at his campaign functions — people well documented as meeting the true definition of the terms Swope has been throwing around so flippantly.
The public absolutely deserves “truth and accountability from our leaders” as The Chronicle publisher called for in a publisher's note joining the dogpile on Brock while Morningstar sat back and continued to sully the county’s “good” repute. The public deserves to know why the county treats people so disparately. We deserve better than this as a community.