Lawyer of­fers to set­tle suit over email ex­change

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - DAVE HUGHES

FORT SMITH — An at­tor­ney has of­fered to set­tle a law­suit he filed against the city ac­cus­ing of­fi­cials of vi­o­lat­ing the Arkansas Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act in an ex­change of email in­volv­ing the city’s Civil Ser­vice Com­mis­sion.

Joey McCutchen, rep­re­sent­ing Bruce Wade of Fort Smith, sent a pro­posed court or­der Thurs­day to City At­tor­ney Jerry Can­field in which the city would ad­mit email ex­changed from May 21 to May 31 con­sti­tuted in­for­mal meet­ings of the city di­rec­tors re­quir­ing pub­lic no­tice to be given.

The two-page pro­posed or­der also said city di­rec­tors wouldn’t en­gage in in­for­mal meet­ings with­out giv­ing pub­lic no­tice “whether by email or oth­er­wise.”

“If the pro­posal is ac­cepted, it will save the tax­pay­ers thou­sands of dol­lars while en­sur­ing trans­parency in gov­ern­ment as in­tended by the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act,” McCutchen wrote in a news re­lease.

McCutchen said Fri­day he hadn’t re­ceived a re­sponse from the city. He said he hoped city di­rec­tors would dis­cuss the pro­posal at their next meet­ing.

City Ad­min­is­tra­tor Carl Gef­fken de­clined to com­ment on McCutchen’s pro­posal Fri­day un­til he dis­cussed it with the city’s at­tor­ney and no­ti­fied city di­rec­tors.

The Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act vi­o­la­tion ac­cu­sa­tion grew out of email ex­changed over the Civil Ser­vice Com­mis­sion’s in­ac­tion in a May 22 meet­ing on a re­quest by Po­lice Chief Nathaniel Clark to change com­mis­sion rules

to al­low non­mem­bers of the force to ap­ply for su­per­vi­sory po­si­tions.

Now, po­si­tions of sergeant, lieu­tenant, cap­tain and ma­jor are filled by pro­mot­ing of­fi­cers from within the depart­ment.

In Wade’s law­suit, McCutchen in­cluded email he says were cir­cu­lated among the city di­rec­tors and Gef­fken.

In email from City Direc­tor An­dre Good to Gef­fken, Good called for dis­so­lu­tion of the com­mis­sion.

“Please share with the en­tire board of di­rec­tors,” Good wrote in the May 23 email to Gef­fken. “I be­lieve it is in our best in­ter­est to dis­solve our Civil Ser­vice Com­mis­sion as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

Gef­fken for­warded Good’s email to the other city di­rec­tors and to Mayor Sandy San­ders.

City Direc­tor Mike Lorenz sent a re­sponse May 31 to an email from Gef­fken sug­gest­ing op­tions for deal­ing with the Civil Ser­vice Com­mis­sion’s lack of ac­tion on Clark’s rule change re­quest.

In it, Lorenz said he pre­ferred the op­tion to pass a non­bind­ing res­o­lu­tion from city di­rec­tors show­ing their sup­port for Clark’s rule change re­quest. The city di­rec­tors passed such a res­o­lu­tion at their June 6 meet­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.