published Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Chattanooga City Council debates hiring attorney over mayoral recall

by Chris Carroll
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Should the Chattanooga City Council hire an outside attorney?

The Chattanooga City Council is divided on the question of hiring an outside attorney to sift through a litany of issues surrounding the recall effort for Mayor Ron Littlefield.

At today’s Legal and Legislative Committee hearing, Councilmen Jack Benson and Manny Rico invoked “taxpayer money” several times, saying they didn’t want to spend it on an outside attorney’s advice on the issue.

But Councilwoman Deborah Scott argued that an outside attorney would help clarify several questions, including “the definition of recall.” She said City Attorney Mike McMahan wasn’t an appropriate choice for council members and advocated the employment of an attorney “independent” of the situation.

Councilman Peter Murphy said he has talked to a couple of attorneys who expressed interest in giving the council advice.

Councilwoman Sally Robinson said it was “premature” to have that discussion since the council hasn’t even decided whether to hire an attorney.

Led by Councilman Andraé McGary, several council members said they wanted to change the city charter section as it relates to future recalls.

State law calls for a three-step recall election process — certification of signatures on a petition for recall, a yes-or-no ballot asking if voters wish to recall the mayor, then a recall election. The city charter outlines a two-step process that goes from recall petition certification to a new mayoral election.

The City Council’s regular meeting begins at 6 p.m.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

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stuartfjames said...

The issue is simple, are the petitions valid? There is a conflict in the law and a legitimate legal issue that must be answered. The recall initiated an appeal, and won without getting an answer to the substantive issues. If the recall is for the good of the voters and our community, we should act that way, in the voters best interests.

November 22, 2011 at 8:35 p.m.
stuartfjames said...

Andrae McGary wants to change the City Charter for future recalls. Where is he on the current recall? If he thinks a change is needed, he should intervene and give an opinion on what is wrong with the current law, and how it impacts the recall election. However, he is not in that fight because he has expressed an interest in running for Mayor in the recall election. The change in the charter would be good, but it would be better to stand up for the voters, the taxpayers, and the recall effort by asking that action be taken on the current petitions to determine their legality under the current law.

It would be a shame to have a recall election and then have the election "tossed out" because the petitions are illegal. Where are our elected representatives when it comes for standing up for the taxpayer?

The original post appears at

November 23, 2011 at 7:44 a.m.
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