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White County manager on paid leave after DUI arrest
0716Alton Brown
Alton Brown
CLEVELAND — White County Manager Alton Brown remains on paid administrative leave after a weekend DUI arrest as county commissioners continue to look into the case.

Meanwhile, commissioners gave White County Sheriff Neal Walden a handgun for safekeeping during a closed-door meeting at the county courthouse Wednesday to discuss Brown’s arrest.

White County Commissioner Craig Bryant would not comment on whether the gun was found in Brown’s office. Walden told reporters who saw him carrying the gun out of the meeting that it was given to him by the board of commissioners.

Bryant said commission members took no action in the hourlong meeting, which was closed to the public because it dealt with a personnel issue. Commissioners are likely to meet again on the matter late next week, he said.

"This is one of those things you can’t just jump into," Bryant said. "You’ve got to get all the facts and not jump to conclusions. There’s two sides to every story."

Bryant said while there are county policies that address the arrest of an employee, they do not automatically require termination.

"Not necessarily," he said. "It depends on the facts of the case itself."

Cleveland Police Chief John Foster said Brown refused to take a breath test after his Chevrolet Suburban was pulled over in the courthouse parking lot about 1:30 a.m. Saturday. An officer spotted Brown on Quillian Street "driving in a manner that would lead him to him being pulled over," Foster said.

Police said an open bottle of alcohol was found inside the car. Foster would not say whether it was beer, wine or liquor.

Brown, 62, was charged with DUI and open container and booked into the White County jail. He was later released on bond.

A phone message left at Brown’s home Wednesday was not returned. It could not be determined if he had a lawyer.

Brown has served as White County manager since April 2003. He did not attend Wednesday’s personnel meeting.

White County Commission Chairman Travis Turner is acting as county manager in Brown’s absence from the office, Bryant said. There is no assistant county manager in White County.

Bryant said things have been running smoothly since Brown was placed on leave Monday.

"I haven’t seen a single glitch," he said.

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