Fluoride Action Network

Ethics complaints filed against Arab Water Board members

Source: The Arab Tribune | March 29th, 2016 | By Charles Whisenant
Location: United States, Alabama

At least three complaints against the members of the Arab Water Works’ board of directors have apparently been filed with the Alabama Ethics Commission.

Per its policy, the Alabama Ethics Commission does not confirm or deny that any complaints have been filed.

A copy of a complaint was faxed to the Tribune.

Simply put, the letter states, someone at Arab Water Works is lying about the entire fluoride issue.

The complaint specifically points out that, “At some point prior to Aug. 1, 2015, the decision was made by a unanimous vote by the board members that fluoride was to be taken out of the community’s water system.

“The vote never appears in any of the prior three years of official minutes presented by the Arab Water Works to the city’s attorney, Rodney Edmondson,” the letter continues. “After being confronted with current medical/dental recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (and others), retroactively the board voted in November 2015 to support this ‘operational decision,’ a term which was never discussed at meetings or in prior minutes.

“Lastly, the attorney representing the AWW, in his own words stated that the board’s manager, Ted Hyatt, did not have any part in making any decision regarding the fluoride issue – something (the lawyer) says he can ‘personally attest to.’”

The letter is referring to the fact that, at one point, the water board said the decision to remove fluoride from Arab’s water supply was an operational decision made by manager Ted Hyatt. Later, the board voted to affirm Hyatt’s decision.

The ethics complaint is filed against board chairman Rodney Hyatt and board members Bruce Smalley and Ben Hornsby.

The letter also gives a brief history of the fluoride issue in Arab.

“At some point prior to Aug. 1, 2015, a decision was made at Arab Water Works to remove fluoride from the community water source,” it says. “The first time anyone in the city was alerted to this action was when Dr. Robert Meador, the state dental director, called (Arab dentist) Dr. John York in Arab to alert him that it was reported to the Alabama Department of Public Health…

“This was approximately Sept. 22. Drs. York and Catharine Willis attended the Arab Water Works board meeting on Sept. 22 and were told at least five times that the board had voted and it was unanimous to remove fluoride from the water supply.”

Those doctors, plus Drs. Ryan and Kathryn Pettit and Meador, also attended that meeting, the letter states.

When asked by the doctors why fluoride was removed, “the board never game a firm answer aside from common rhetoric used by many inflammatory anti-fluoride blogs commonly encountered on the internet, the letter claims.

It also says that city attorney Rodney Edmondson asked for a received three years worth of minutes from board minutes and that none of the minutes included a vote by the board to remove fluoride.

The only time the board responded to anything regarding fluoride was when Rodney Hyatt, in a letter to Mayor Bob Joslin, stated: “Yes, there are numerous studies and endorsements from various groups and government agencies which promote the benefits of fluoridation of the public water system to promote dental health. However there are likewise numerous research studies which indicate otherwise or indicate that there has not been sufficient research on humans on the long-term effects of consuming even the lowered level of this industrial grade fluoride recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services…”

The letter states that in November the board voted to “support what they were now calling an ‘operational decision’ since it had come to their attention that there is not record of a vote on the fluoride issue in their official minutes.”

The letter goes on to say that the board’s attorney, Claud Burke, stated at a board meeting and again in a community Facebook group that, “There seems to be some confusion locally as to whether the manager of the Arab Water Works played any part in making any decision regarding the fluoride issue. He did not play any part whatsoever. I attended every meeting and can personally attest that he played no part.”

So, the letter, states, the board said it was an operational decision by the manager, then later takes a vote to affirm the operational decision, but the board’s attorney said the manager had no part in it, and there are no records of any vote by the board.

“Someone at the Arab Works is lying to the mayor, the city council and the residents of Arab,” the complaint concludes.