City Council Votes 'No Confidence' on City Attorney | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

City Council Votes 'No Confidence' on City Attorney

City Council cast a vote of no-confidence in City Attorney Sarah O'Reilly-Evans at the May 22 council meeting, saying O'Reilly-Evans acts as if she works for the mayor rather than the city. "I've heard you say you work exclusively for the executive branch, and I know that's not the way state law has set that up," Councilman Marshand Crisler said to O'Reilly-Evans.

The council based its resolution on two incidents this year. In February, O'Reilly-Evans refused to offer legal advice on the mayor's decision to create a new department for Ramie Ford so Charles Melvin could take over parks and recreation. During that incident, the council went into closed, executive session on the legality of the new department, but the city attorney walked out of the meeting and instructed her staff to withhold information, council members say. O'Reilly-Evans said then that she walked out on the instructions of Melton.

The council also called out O'Reilly-Evans for offering legal advice that apparently contradicts state law regarding the mayor's attempts to supplant city department heads with employees in the Administration Department. Council members assert that O'Reilly Evans advised them that it was legal for the city to run departments through the Administration Department.

During discussion of the resolution, Chief Administration Officer Robert Walker urged council to go into executive session, where the public could not hear deliberations.

"Is this not a personnel matter?" Walker asked. The Open Meetings Act allows government bodies to go into executive session to discuss personnel issues, but that provision is not mandatory. Furthermore, the act encourages open meetings whenever possible.

Council President Ben Allen, who supported the resolution along with council members Leslie McLemore, Margaret Barrett-Simon and Crisler, said the issue was already out in the public forum and merited public discussion.

O'Reilly-Evans characterized the resolution as "the continuing slander, defamation and harassment of the last few months." She said the council's interpretation of her withholding counsel in February is "an untruth," and she said the council resorted to "harassment and defamation" because it did not have the power to fire her.

Councilman Kenneth Stokes, who called the resolution a "personal attack" on O'Reilly-Evans, offered three motions to amend and soften the resolution. The four-member majority that sponsored the resolution struck down all three amendments.

Stokes warned that the resolution, which accuses the attorney of failing to follow state law, could potentially impact O'Reilly-Evans' status with the state bar. Councilman Frank Bluntson, a stalwart supporter of both O'Reilly-Evans and the mayor, asked Stokes what recourse the attorney could have against the "misinformation" in the resolution language, at which Administrative Assistant Stephanie Parker-Weaver called out, "Sue them," from the audience.

When Parker-Weaver shouted out the statement a second time, Allen called for quiet, telling Parker-Weaver, "You know better than that." Allen threatened to clear the chambers.

The resolution passed with a 4-to-3 vote. Members say the vote is intended to send a message to the Melton administration.

Previous Comments

ID
128848
Comment

Just remember, truth is a defense to defamation.

Author
LawClerk
Date
2007-05-23T12:38:17-06:00
ID
128849
Comment

We have really got to get Parker-Weaver a real job. She has way more free time than us regular "working" folk. What's up with that? And why would your ignorant self want to sue the City/City Council?

Author
honey2me
Date
2007-05-23T12:41:43-06:00
ID
128850
Comment

LOL! I agree 100% about Ms. Parker-Weaver. What is her job title anyway?

Author
cityofjacksonms
Date
2007-05-23T13:02:38-06:00
ID
128851
Comment

I'm told that Stephanie Parker Weaver was campaigning (on City time) for Michelle Purvis between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. last Friday at JSU's Walter Payton Health & Wellness Center. The nonprofit had rented the building for an employee appreciation event. When told that she could not solicit the support of the Agency's employees, Parker-Weaver reportedly said, "This is public property."

Author
Kacy
Date
2007-05-23T13:26:47-06:00
ID
128852
Comment

I believe Parker-Weaver's title is "Cheerleader". She is always there to cheer on Frank and now Michelle Purvis. If Michelle had enough sense, she would distance herself from Frank's camp to at least trick us into voting for her!

Author
honey2me
Date
2007-05-23T13:37:17-06:00
ID
128853
Comment

Parker-Weaver knows better. He step-father was an attorney and did a lot of work for Civil Rights. This is an example of a person doing and saying anything for position and money. Have these people seriously thought about what will happen if/when there is no more frank in office or when Jackson elects a Real Mayor as we did with the election of former Mayor Harvey Johnson?

Author
justjess
Date
2007-05-23T13:50:55-06:00
ID
128854
Comment

Her job title is listed as "mayor's administrative assistant."

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2007-05-23T14:42:25-06:00
ID
128855
Comment

That is the job title; but, what are the job duties??? Is campaigning for Purvis during what should be work hours include this as part of what she is assigned to do? Just thinking - Just asking.

Author
justjess
Date
2007-05-23T15:39:47-06:00
ID
128856
Comment

Rack another one up for the Hinds County DAs office, here the link: http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070523/NEWS/70523029

Author
snowjob
Date
2007-05-23T16:10:20-06:00
ID
128857
Comment

Parker-Weaver is just thrilled to be getting a steady check. Before that her main occupation was living off one federal grant to the next. I used to respect her because she seemed to be passionate about civil rights but now she as well as Stokes have been exposed for the money-hawks that they are. PITIFUL

Author
thetruth
Date
2007-05-23T16:12:39-06:00
ID
128858
Comment

Do we blame the Da's office or the jury??

Author
jada
Date
2007-05-23T16:20:26-06:00
ID
128859
Comment

Also, this post is off-thread. Gauis, you need to move it to the forums if you want to start a thread about how much you think the DA sucks. It will be deleted from here shortly, so hurry up.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-05-23T16:28:08-06:00
ID
128860
Comment

And fix the link. ;-P

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2007-05-23T16:32:21-06:00
ID
128861
Comment

I heard a part of the Council meeting last night on channel 18. Does Sarah O'Riley Evans really believe that she serves at the "will and pleasure of the mayor" only? Does she truly believe that she can say and do anything to and with the Council and they will sit back, suck their thumbs, cry and wait until she tells them to speak? This is too wrong! Instead of dealing with the problems in her relationship with the Council, she became angry and accused them of "harrassment, slander and defamation of character." She just doesn't get it. You can't fool all of the people all of the time.

Author
justjess
Date
2007-05-24T11:49:45-06:00
ID
128862
Comment

SORE - She always looks mad! Except during Bond counsel ;-)

Author
pikersam
Date
2007-05-24T12:00:56-06:00
ID
128863
Comment

true about that, pike.

Author
cityofjacksonms
Date
2007-05-24T21:56:43-06:00

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