Members of Warren County Health and Welfare Committee have voted to terminate Warren County Animal Control director Tammy Webb.
The motion passed 5-0 on Tuesday night.
Webb’s termination stems from the fact she was arrested Aug. 6 for the manufacture, delivery and sale of marijuana that was found growing on Animal Control property in July. Webb’s son, Jonathan Ewell Smith, was arrested July 9 by deputies who had the area under surveillance after receiving a tip from someone saying marijuana was being grown on the property located on Paws Lane.
Following Smith’s arrest, officers had reason to believe Webb was also involved.
Incriminating text messages sent from Webb’s phone to Smith’s phone, along with the fact Webb had purchased the hoses used to water the plants and the potting soil used to fertilize the plants, all led to her being charged.
“The text message said, ‘Get out of the patch. The police are everywhere.’ That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for misinterpretation,” said County Executive John Pelham. “ I’m very sorry for the situation. We have tried to the best of our ability to hold back and wait and allow the process to work, but with what the sheriff’s department has uncovered, I don’t think there is any question to the circumstances.”
Commissioner Blaine Wilcher said, “You are innocent until proven guilty, but my reason for voting to terminate her is because of the fact she had her son on Animal Control property without our knowledge regardless of his criminal background. He should not have been working there.”
Sources told members of the county’s Health and Welfare Committee they had seen Webb’s son working and doing odd jobs at the facility numerous times. Pelham said Smith should not have been working there since he was not a county employee due to the potential of a lawsuit following a possible injury or animal bite.
Webb was put on two weeks administrative leave following Smith’s arrest, which was 51 days after she was appointed director of Warren County Animal Control.
From a legal standpoint, county attorney Larry Stanley said the firing could be justified. Pelham told commissioners Stanley advised him Webb was a department head and regardless of whether she knew about the pot, it happened on her watch.
Both Webb and her son have denied knowing the plants were growing on county property, even though Smith was arrested in the patch while caring for the plants.
Members of the Health and Welfare Committee are Commissioners Sally Brock, Teddy Boyd, Billy Earl Jones, Diane Starkey and Wilcher.