A Jasper County Supervisor accused the board chair of intimidation and combative behavior during a 10-minute prepared statement on Tuesday.
Read aloud during the board of supervisors regular meeting, county supervisor Doug Cupples made the accusations against chair Joe Brock, who has served as a county supervisor for seven years. The remarks came following two meetings where the board members were at odds and had often heated discussions about the Jasper County Annex building.
The statement started with Cupples referencing a discussion at the previous meeting on his plans for the annex building and Brock’s response.
“Repeatedly we have heard Joe try to discredit my plans and stall forward progress and then finish with ‘We need to get the people out of the basement,’” Cupples said. “This always leaves me and anyone listening confused. Because that is exactly what I am attempting to do today, get the people out of the basement, away from the potential health hazard.”
Cupples went on to talk about an incident in January involving maintenance director Adam Sparks. He said Brock had told him about something him and Sparks had done and he was interested in it, so he asked Sparks about it. Cupples said Brock was not happy about the interaction.
“I got to witness what I was told happens when Joe gets mad. Joe accused me of trailing him around as though there was malice on my part,” Cupples said. “I am not sure what he was afraid, of but certainly, he was angry. I just let this go.”
Cupples said that was not the last time Brock confronted him and that he has since yelled at him and attempted to belittle him in multiple meetings. He referenced a situation where Brock commented on Cupples not liking negative press on Facebook.
“Then, when I tried to explain he basically called me a liar and stuck his hand in my face, sticking his hand in my face was completely uncalled for,” Cupples said. “I was simply going to say that I did say that I do not like the negative publicity in the paper not Facebook. Joe’s accusations toward me were just digs and attempts to overstep his authority. Totally unnecessary.”
While the interaction between the two supervisors has been disheartening to Cupples, he said it hasn’t affected him or his will to carry on his work. He said he has remained calm and let Brock air out his frustrations while not returning the behavior himself.
“The way he says things makes it so if you respond you seem defensive or combative and if you don’t, he wants you to feel overpowered and just let him have his way,” Cupples said. “These attempted reprimands have had no effect on me or my will to carry on my work and the protection of the Jasper County taxpayers money and Jasper county employees.”
Cupples also brought up how Brock often accuses him of poor communication. He said that in his 11 months on the board, he has spoken to Brock five or six times on the phone, all initiated by him. He continued that Brock never initiated communications and has never tried to contact Cupples outside of a board meeting.
“It is no secret that Joe does not call people or companies back. If you have tried to communicate with Joe you know what I am talking about,” Cupples said. “If I had not contacted Joe he would have never contacted me outside of Tuesdays.”
Brock responded by saying he would not “trace through every one of those” accusations and questioned Cupples for speaking on behalf of other people. Brock said if he made someone angry on a continual basis, they should speak up and let him know what is going on.
“You’ve just had a half hour to wipe me over the coals here,” Brock said. “Whenever you speak for a lot of other people, use that to impress your point, it makes me wonder. For you to use that, everything that anybody has said or done for the last as an indictment against me, I think that is kind of a stretch.”
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