Former Mt. Pleasant mayor, employees urge current mayor to ‘clean house’ following lawsuit
In a recent court hearing, Judge Lee of the 6th Judicial District Court ruled that David Blackham, former Mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Sam Draper, former Public Works Director of Mt. Pleasant, and Jayne Banks, former Recorder of Mt. Pleasant, did not have “legal standing” to bring the lawsuit which they had filed to try and correct certain questionable and illegal practices in Mt. Pleasant City Government because they were no longer city officials. As a result the lawsuit was ordered to be dismissed without the court ever addressing the validity of the complaints of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs therefore are writing the following open letter to Mayor Dan Anderson because the judge clearly said that the complaints should be matters for him to address.
Dear Mayor Anderson:
Following our court hearing last week it became very clear that our efforts to address what we felt were very important concerns with the way the city is being operated should not have been brought in the courts, but instead should be addressed to you and the voting public, hence this letter.
The Judge did not address or rule upon the validity of any of our complaints. Instead he focused on whether we had the right to bring the lawsuit to address the appropriateness/legality of those issues. He made it very clear in his ruling that you, as the current mayor, are the proper person to address these issues to since you are currently charged with that responsibility as the appointed chief executive of the city. We acknowledge that Judge Lee probably made the right decision.
We are not going to fight this issue in court any further. However, we are addressing our concerns to you, Mr. Mayor, in this open letter in the hopes that you will do what is right to protect the interests of the citizens of Mt. Pleasant. We are certain that the voters in Mt. Pleasant will be watching to see how you address these concerns and the leadership that you demonstrate in resolving these problems.
In our lawsuit:
- We complained of nepotism in the hiring of family members and friends and neighbors of the sitting city council members to fill positions without accepting applications from other qualified individuals. We feel that this is both wrong and a conflict of interest that has harmed the city and continues to do so.
- We complained of the lack of implementation of fair and unbiased city procurement/contracting practices, which has had the result of benefitted sitting city council members and their businesses without allowing for any competition from other local contractors and or suppliers.
- We complained of the city council holding illegal closed session meetings without proper notice or accountability to the public.
- We complained of city council members holding unpublished city council meetings away from city hall and outside the scrutiny of the public view and without the keeping of any public record of these meetings.
- We complained of the city council using closed sessions illegally to attempt to put pressure on employees and elected officials to resign.
- We complained of city councilmen usurping the job of two elected mayors and interfering with their efforts to manage the city’s business and by doing so creating hostile work environments for city employees.
The judge admonished the city to pay a city attorney to advise the mayor and council in their council meetings so that these types of complaints can be avoided.
We leave it in your competent hands, Mr. Mayor, to clean house in Mt. Pleasant and make changes in the way things are being done.