A McMinnville alderman is calling for the replacement of Mayor Jimmy Haley as interim city administrator and criticizing the board for holding an improper meeting about McMinnville Fire Chief Keith Martin.
In an email distributed to board members and dated Sept. 27, Alderman Mike Neal called for quick action to replace Haley.
“Gentlemen, I am writing you today in regards to recent events concerning our acting City Administrator/ Mayor,” wrote Neal. “It is in my opinion that it is time that we take action to make a new appointment to this position.”
Neal says Haley showed a “lapse of judgment” in talking to the Southern Standard about a four-month severance offer he made to McMinnville Fire Chief Keith Martin.
“With the current situation surrounding the fire chief and the lapse of judgment by the City Administrator/ Mayor in making comments to the press about a personnel matter, (which may have violated his civil rights) it deems this action to be taken.”
Neal goes on to say city board members met at the end of August for an executive session to discuss Martin, a meeting he now believes was against state law and in violation of the Open Meeting Act.
Neal says he asked city attorney Tim Pirtle about the meeting and was told the meeting was “improper, and since improper, it does not afford attorney-client privileges.”
“Each of us could be called to testify regarding that procedure if a lawsuit is filed,” said Neal. “Also, there has been no disciplinary action at all taken against the fire chief based on job performance. I think we are in a precarious situation at best should a suit be filed.”
The executive session was held just after a special called session in which Haley was named interim city administrator.