MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

January 19, 2010

Termination of Warner janitor may have violated law

WARNER — Vice Mayor Randy Brassfield may have violated the Open Meeting Law when he terminated a janitor.

Lagging sales tax revenue forced the council to make cuts, Brassfield said in the Tuesday morning meeting.

Sales taxes in Warner were down from $41,483.09 in November to $33,925.56 in December — or $7,557.63, according to the city revenue report. Tax receipts were down $4,566.73 from December 2008.

The part-time janitor at the library and City Hall is paid $250 per month. Employees will assume the janitorial duties, Brassfield said.

The action may have violated the state Open Meeting Law, District Attorney Larry Moore said.

Brassfield announced the termination after the council returned from an executive session. Such decisions must be discussed and voted upon in an open session, according to the law.

“Any action taken in an executive session is against the law,” Muskogee County District Attorney Larry Moore said.

After an executive session, Brassfield instructed the city clerk to write a termination letter to the janitor.

When reminded the council had to make any such decision in an open meeting vote, Brassfield said the decision wasn’t made in executive session but was talked about earlier.

When told discussing it with councilors outside a meeting would have violated the open meeting law he said he made the decision. He apologized, saying he had made a mistake.

He then made a motion to terminate the woman, and after a 3-0 vote again ordered she be given a termination letter.

Anyone with an Open Meeting complaint should contact the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office, Moore said.

The council tabled any action on employee salaries and duties, which were discussed in executive session.



Reach Donna Hales at 918-684-2923 or Click Here to Send Email

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