A letter from the Missouri Attorney General's Office appears to vindicate an
ousted Louisiana city councilwoman
after a closed meeting controversy.
The city council impeached board member Robbyn Morris saying she illegally recorded a closed meeting on Sept. 10. In turn, Morris said the closed meeting was against the law in the first place.
"You cannot tape this session, whether you think it's right or wrong," Mayor Tom Wallace said.
The city council claimed the meeting was closed to reprimand City Administrator Bob Jenne. Instead, the council heard complaints from Jenne that Morris was interfering with his job. It was an agenda of Jenne's, Wallace says he did not know about.
"The original intent to that meeting was not to consider the impeachment or dismissal of Ms. Morris. Basically, I was having difficulties with her getting involved in my duties, which I felt was inappropriate," Jenne said.
Wallace says the council didn't get to the original issue because of an argument that began at the top of the meeting.
"I couldn't get Ms. Morris or my city administrator to shut up, neither one of them. So, consequently, we never got to the meat of the meeting at all. I ended up saying to the council, this meeting is going nowhere, and I entertained a motion to close," Wallace said.
A Jan. 18 memo from the Missouri Attorney General outlined a number reprimands.
City leaders will attend training on open meetings law on Feb. 15. They must also provide the Attorney General with copies of council notices and minutes for the next six months.
The letter also states that City Attorney Robert Rapp told the council on Dec. 10 that the attorney general's office had advised him that the city should consider suing people who file complaints against the city. Mayor Wallace says Rapp's comments was misconstrued at the meeting. The attorney general's office is recommending the city clarify that such advice was not given.
Morris would not agree to an on-camera interview. She said in a brief phone statement that she won't seek election for her old seat in the upcoming April election. She added that she could not comment on future legal action against the city.