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LaFollette Council sees third legal challenge

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By Susan Sharp

After being fired a third time, David Young has amended a petition he previously filed in hopes getting his job back.

Last week, the LaFollette City Council ratified its October decision to terminate Young. This came despite a court ruling to the contrary just the day before that restored Young to his job.

Days after the council moved to terminate Young for the third time, he filed the amendment that again asks for its actions to be deemed null and void by the court.

He again says the October meeting was held without proper notification to him and the public constituting a violation of the state’s open meetings law.

However, in this petition Young and his attorney, David Dunaway, reference the city’s charter as it relates to this situation.

While some council members have argued that Young’s contract is meaningless because Tennessee is an at will state, Dunaway points out that in 2003, the city of LaFollette chose to deviate from the norm by adopting a private act. In that act, the city’s charter was amended to allow it to enter into contracts for “public services.”

Prior to being terminated Young had a contract with the city that extended into 2012.

As far as last week’s meeting Dunaway is arguing that it was a violation of the open meetings law because the public was not informed Young’s circumstances would be addressed.

While Young and Dunaway were notified, Dunaway says his client was out of state, unable to attend the meeting. He also says the meeting was essentially a “rubber stamp” to the prior meetings in which Young was fired. The actions of the LaFollette Council were deemed a “continuing pattern of disregard for the law” carried out in a “continuing attitude of contempt for the court system” by Dunaway.

There were not any new facts presented to support the termination and little discussion of the matter took place, the court record said. In fact, Dunaway says the only discussion of his client’s status was the suggestion he “had brought the actions on himself.”

Dunaway has asked the court to void the actions that left Young without a job. He further asked the court to stop the city from conducting meetings in opposition to the open meetings law.    

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