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Although she didn’t refile for the position from which she was impeached, former Louisiana City Council member Robbyn Morris is not folding her tent.
Morris said Thursday, Jan. 31 she was speaking with a law firm about legal action against those who opposed her.
“And the list is long,” Morris said. “If I do decide to file suits, I will let those people know with a letter of intent.”
Morris did not want to divulge any other details but said she would announce the law firm she chooses.
Morris was impeached by a 7-0 vote on Nov. 20 by the city council. Morris abstained from the vote, saying she did not want to jeopardize any possible future actions.
Councilman Chuck Hoffman cast one of those votes, but later said he was confused by the voting process and thought he was voting to proceed on three matters outlined by Municipal Court Judge Bruce McGuire to proceed and not the actual vote to impeach itself.
Morris has contended her impeachment was illegal because the closed meeting she taped was not legally held.
Morris said the closed session was called by a council vote to let City Administrator Bob Jenne air grievances about her alleged meddling in his city business.
The deposed former councilwoman said the meeting should not have been held because the Sunshine Law allows closed sessions to discuss the hiring, firing or discipline of employees, not elected officials such as herself.
That position was reinforced when a chief counsel from the Missouri Attorney General’s office recently wrote City Attorney Robert Rapp.
Governmental Affairs Chief Counsel Patricia J. Churchill said the closed council session which Morris taped and led to her impeachment should not have been held in the first place.
“There was no discussion by the council about Mr. Jenne’s conduct,” Churchill wrote.
“When it quickly became apparent in closed session that the discussion was focused on Ms. Morris’ conduct, and not the hiring, firing, discipline or promotion of Mr. Jenne, the council was obligated to adjourn the closed session and discuss the issue regarding Ms. Morris in an open session.” the letter said.
That official statement could be used as legal grounds in a lawsuit.
At the Monday, Feb. 4 city council committees meeting, Churchill’s letter was not discussed, but it could be at the Monday, Feb. 11 regular meeting.
Mayor Tom Wallace said last week the council will get Sunshine Law training as advised by Churchill. The city will also abide by Churchill’s request to send all meeting notices and minutes to her office for the next six months, Wallace added.
Morris’ Ward Three seat on the council has been vacant since her impeachment, but it will be filled in the April 2 municipal election.
Businessman Bart Niedner and city employee James Minor have filed for the seat. The race will remain that way unless a write-in candidate appears by the March 22 special filing deadline.