Chattanooga City Council debates hiring attorney over mayoral recall

Chattanooga City Council debates hiring attorney over mayoral recall

November 22nd, 2011 by Chris Carroll in Local - Breaking News

Former Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield

Former Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

POLL: 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 AndraƩ 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.