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Procedures changed in Baker following WBRZ report

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BAKER - Procedures are being changed in the City of Baker following a WBRZ report Monday.

Effective immediately, all hourly employees will be forced to use the city's "fingerprint" time clock system to track their hours. All of this came to light after the Investigative Unit captured the Baker Clerk of Court on camera requesting documents from a private citizen. It happened while Bridget Dawson was out of the office.

The documents that were being requested involve City Court Judge Kirk Williams' wife. His wife, Shona Boxie Williams, is a school board member targeted by a recall attempt. Last week he sent an email demanding that the recall petitions be turned over so they could be reviewed. Our cameras captured his Clerk of Court requesting those documents.

At issue now is whether Dawson was on city time for personal business. A check of her time sheet shows it's unclear what hours she works. No one approved her time sheet, and it doesn't show what hours she was paid for.

"As a policy, if they are going to continue to be paid, they will have to clock in," Mayor Harold Rideau said.

Dawson told WBRZ she was on her personal time. When we asked her why she doesn't clock in on the city's time clock, she appeared to be confused.

"What time clock?" Dawson asked. "You mean the city fingerprint system that no one in the court system can use because none of our fingerprints work and we've complained several times and it has not been fixed? They are doing an update on a new fingerprint system."

However, Mayor Rideau said the system is not broken. Other city employees use it daily. An email went out today urging all department heads to make sure their employees clock in if they want to get paid.

That's just one of the issues our story exposed. The other was an email that ties Judge Williams to the request for the recall petitions. It gives the recall chair a deadline to turn them over. Initially, Judge Williams said he didn't send an email. 

"I didn't sent Jerrie Williams and email today," Judge Kirk Williams said.

However, the email the WBRZ Investigative Unit obtained shows it was signed by the judge. That emails was sent after Dawson went to get the records from the recall chair. So, we had to ask who sent her and who told the judge she didn't get them.

"My name is Bridget Dawson, not Kirk Williams," Dawson said. "I don't have ESP, you're going to have to ask him that."

When we asked who appointed her to her position, she was hesitant to answer.

"Is there anything else?" Dawson asked. "We are all appointed by the Court Judge. Everyone in there is appointed by the judge."

Dawson said it was actually the City Court Bailiff who sent her to get the records.

The mayor fired a city employee last week connected to this situation. That employee, Mitch Jackson, was arrested on numerous drugs and weapons charges. Jackson was the one who initially requested the records referenced in the above report.

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