Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Monday

June 2, 2014

Morris resigns from Fest board

TRAVERSE CITY — The man slated to lead the National Cherry Festival’s governing board resigned during a special meeting called by festival officials concerned about his social media statements.

Gerald Morris, a former Internal Revenue Service agent and ex-president of the Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education, authored a Twitter post in January 2013 under the username “@tcapspresident” that stated: “To think of my son getting eight years in prison for being in love!”’

The statement was a reference to Morris’ son Marc Morris, 30, who is in prison for maintaining a two-year sexual relationship that he started in 2010 with a then-13-year-old girl while he worked as a middle school custodian.

It was one of several Twitter posts penned by Morris which concerned Cherry Festival board members and prompted them to call the special meeting Monday. Morris, the board’s president-elect, read a brief statement before he resigned citing “personal reasons,” current festival President Dave Barr said.

”I don’t think it was a real wise tweet to make, and I think it has caused problems,” said Barr, who served with Gerald Morris on the TCAPS board.

Festival board members called the special meeting about 10 days ago to continue a discussion started during a May meeting about Morris’ Twitter statements, including the post from January 2013.

Gerald Morris on Monday afternoon said the January post was a response to another Twitter post. Morris said he could not recall what specific post he was responding to at the time.

He declined to answer further questions for this story and could not be reached for comment Monday night following his resignation.

Marc Morris received a job at East Middle School, first on a temporary basis and then as a permanent position, while his father served on the TCAPS board despite a school policy that bars the district from hiring school board members’ relatives for permanent positions.

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