As the mayor was about to adjourn the meeting, Councilor Judy Casper abruptly made a motion that Mayor Don Williams turn over copies of private emails he sent to various citizens dealing with official city business. City Councilor Diana Hinton quickly seconded the motion which then led to a spirited discussion of the details.
Casper told her fellow councilors that the city clerk-recorder had received a request for those emails and that she (Casper) was concerned about the nature of the citizens request and what the implications might be if Mayor Williams once again refused to divulge the contents of certain emails made on his private email account.
Mayor Williams, in a very controlled and calm voice said that such a request had already been decided by the last city council in a deal he made with them. He apologized for anything that he may have done wrong and that the council would not pursue “the matter” any further. Case closed.
But Casper said this latest citizen’s request for the mayor’s emails did not have anything to do with the mayor’s earlier entanglements with the previous city council. Casper pointed out that she and her fellow councilors may be exposed to court judgements or attorney fees if the mayor does not turn over certain emails requested by the citizen.
A visibly flustered Mayor Williams said “You’re not going to get any cooperation from me. This has all been decided.” Noting the absence of City Attorney Richard Appicello, who called in sick, Mayor Williams suggested anyone set on revealing his emails should get themselves an attorney. Hinton indicated she already had one. And with that Councilor Casper withdrew her motion, and Councilor Hinton withdrew her second.
On occasion, there is a benefit to having at least one attorney in the room during such testy discussions. City Attorney Appicello will likely be in the room the next time the issue is raised.