School board member charged with lewdness

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By Jim Clark

School Board of Levy County member Billy Morrison was a no-show Tuesday morning for the regular meeting of the Levy County School Board, 10 days after his arrest in Gainesville.

Morrison, 47, of Bronson, was charged at the Santa Fe College Northwest Campus in Gainesville Oct. 11 with lewdness and exposure of sexual organs, both misdemeanors, after a police patrol and undercover investigation of a rest room at the school.

He was issued a notice to appear in court. He is scheduled to appear before a judge at the Alachua County Courthouse Oct. 30 at 9 a.m., according to the SFC Police report.

On the advice of his attorney, Morrison declined to comment.

The office of Gov. Charlie Crist was notified of Morrison's status, but a spokesman said that no action could be taken.

"He was charged with misdemeanors, not a felony. The governor's authority only extends to those charged with a felony."

At Tuesday's meeting, board members and school officials apparently had no intention of bringing up the matter, but were asked from the audience as the meeting was about to end whether any action would be taken.

Board attorney Sheree Lancaster said that "neither the board nor superintendent could remove or discipline" another board member. "The board has no authority," she said. Later she said that she had talked to the governor's office.

Lancaster cited Article IV, Section 7 of the Florida Constitution that states when the governor can suspend an elected official.

"I don't know if the governor can even act, because the law says 'commission of a felony' not a misdemeanor. So unless there's malfeasance or permanent inability to perform official duties, I'm not sure (the governor) has the authority, either."

But Tuesday afternoon the spokesman said that "the governor is not taking any action."

After the meeting, Lancaster, Board President Paige Brookins and School Superintendent Cliff Norris all said Morrison had not notified them that he would not attend the meeting.