Mayor of Dresden sues the city’s college of aldermen | New
DRESDEN, TN – Dresden, Tennessee, Mayor Jeff Washburn has filed a civil lawsuit against the six-member city council of aldermen.
The lawsuit comes a month after the board voted 5-1 in favor of a resolution calling for Washburn’s censure.
Washburn says the board made the decision in violation of Tennessee Sun Law and that the censure resolution should be null and void.
The Tennessee Sun Law basically states that any decision on public policy or public business must be made in public and not in secret. It makes almost all government meetings open to the public.
Washburn says the board met to discuss his censorship ahead of a June 6 public board meeting.
Washburn said he expected a discussion after the presentation of the resolution calling for its censure.
“It was immediately adopted without discussion. This means that they have already discussed it. They had already made up their minds before they got to the meeting,” says Washburn.
Washburn’s lawsuit also details what he calls the violation of his First Amendment rights to post updates about Dresden on his Facebook news page, “The Weakley Times.”
Washburn says the board of aldermen discussed his censorship and other city business privately, including hiring a city administrator to take on the responsibilities of mayor.
“Taking away the administration powers of the mayor and hiring that extra staff member to run the city, like I said, pretty good cost for a small community – about 25 cents a year, tax rate increase” , says Washburn.
In addition to quashing the resolution, the suit says Washburn is seeking a temporary injunction to restrain the council from interfering with her rights.
“It’s the right thing to do, and I’ve been known to advocate for the right thing to do. It protects the powers of the mayor. It protects the integrity of people knowing what’s going on in their municipal government,” Washburn said.
The monthly Dresden board meeting on Monday evening was postponed because only two aldermen were present when the roll was called.
Washburn is representing himself in this lawsuit.
The college of aldermen has not yet hired a lawyer.
Local 6 contacted the board and members declined to comment.