Red Bank officials admit to private meeting

Red Bank officials admit to private meeting

October 29th, 2010 by Chris Carroll in Local Regional News

The wife of a candidate for Red Bank's Board of Commissioners is accusing three of the city's current commissioners of holding a secret meeting only days before Election Day, and she says she has photographic proof.

The three commissioners -- Floy Pierce, Greg Jones and Monty Millard -- acknowledge they were all in the same place at the same time but say there was no backroom politicking.

On Wednesday, Pierce called the police on Callie LeCompte, wife of District 3 candidate Ed LeCompte, when she saw the woman taking pictures from across the street at Pierce's business, Floy's Creations on Dayton Boulevard. Ed LeCompte is running against Jones.

"Three of them meet together right before the election, of course they were talking politics," Callie LeCompte said. "I was running errands up and down Dayton Boulevard and saw all their vehicles next to Floy's."

She got a photo of Jones talking with an unnamed Red Bank resident outside Floy's Creations but didn't get any photos of the three commissioners together.

Pierce called the whole affair "real silly" and admitted that Jones and Millard visited her business about 4 p.m. Wednesday for an extended period of time.

"Yeah, we talk," said Pierce, who's running against Robert Perry and David Smith for the District 1 seat. "There was no agenda. We don't get 'backroom' and talk about anything to do with voting."

But in a separate interview, Millard said the commissioners "talked a little politics." He declined to elaborate.

Jones noted that it would be pretty stupid of him to hold "secret meetings" while his truck -- with his campaign posters all over it -- was sitting in the parking lot of Floy's Creations.

"If I had anything to hide, I wouldn't be coming to Floy's in my truck with my name all over it and pull right there to the driveway and park," Jones said. "There's no secret meetings going on, buddy."

Tennessee Coalition for Open Government President Frank Gibson said someone would have to prove that the three commissioners discussed city business before they could face Open Meetings Law violations.

"But there's no excuse this close to Election Day for them to create an appearance that they have violated the law," Gibson said.

In July, former Red Bank Police Chief Larry Sneed sued Jones, Millard and Pierce for $1.5 million, accusing them of holding "secret meetings" and persuading City Manager Chris Dorsey to fire Sneed after the chief twice arrested Millard.

City officials have denied a conspiracy to fire Sneed.

After the Wednesday incident, police filed a "suspicious activity" report but didn't arrest Callie LeCompte. She said a police officer "stalked" her outside her home Wednesday night.