by Max Brantley
St. Bernards Healthcare in Jonesboro confirms a tip with this brief statement:
Chris B. Barber, president and chief executive officer of St. Bernards Healthcare.
"Senator Bookout has publicly stated that he intends to abide by the ruling of the Ethics Committee, and we certainly agree with his decision to do so. He has resigned from his position at St. Bernards, and we will have no further comment".
A former funeral director, Bookout was hired two years ago as administrative director for system relations and government/public affairs at St. Bernards.
Here's the letter of reprimand. It says in part:
... the letter is condemnatory in nature and serves to give clear notice that your conduct violated the law and falls below the standards expected of public officials. you are required to refrain from engaging in the same activity again.
These actions were expected. No word yet if action is coming on any other fronts. Jonesboro Prosecutor Scott Ellington has said he'd review the law to see if action was required on his part. He was in court this afternoon when I called.
The Ethics Commission has said that the law which Bookout was found to have violated in its civil proceeding also can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor, but those decisions are up to prosecutors, not the commission.