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POUND — With two Pound Town Council members refusing to attend a Tuesday called meeting, most town operations came to a standstill this week.

Mayor Stacey Carson said Wednesday that three of four town employees have been furloughed until a council quorum can be assembled to do town business.

According to a video of Tuesday’s meeting — originally a recessed meeting after council members Glenn Cantrell and Danny Stanley walked out of the regular Nov. 16 meeting when Town Attorney Cameron Bell quit — Carson said she received emails from those council members saying they would not attend.

Carson said Cantrell’s email questioned whether Tuesday’s meeting was called properly, stating that two council members had to request a meeting and the request had to go through the town clerk.

“We are in jeopardy of losing our charter due to not being able to work together,” Carson said in the video, adding that she has closed town hall.

Carson claimed that town employees have been answering only to certain unnamed council members, and they told her, “I was not their boss.” She then said she had furloughed Clerk Melissa Fleming, Treasurer Kimberly Justice and a public works employee this week.

Interim Police Chief Chris Wilcox remains on duty because of his responsibility for security of police records and the evidence room, Carson said Wednesday.

“Part of the problem is nobody is in charge at this point,” said new council member Leabern Kennedy. “The Administrative Committee has no decisions it can make without council.”

Clifton Cauthorne asked Carson during Tuesday’s meeting about the status of real estate tax collections that were to be received by Tuesday. He asked if a volunteer group that had offered to process those collections was able to do so. Carson said a Virginia state trooper was supposed to allow her into the town main office that night to start processing and depositing the tax receipts. On Wednesday, she said Kennedy and she were allowed in the town main office to process receipts and prepare a deposit.

Former Town Attorney Bell has been sent a $5,500 payment on his billing of more than $21,000 in legal fees, Carson said.

Personal property tax collections are on hold, Carson told Cauthorne. She added that she has not signed over deeds for town property related to this summer’s transfer of the water and sewer systems to the Wise County Public Service Authority. She said she was concerned about possible legal action against her, citing previous actions by Bell and former Town Manager Drew Mullins with Mullins signing some transfer documents for the PSA.

Cauthorne said an emergency council meeting is needed to address several business concerns.

“If council refuses to meet, it only escalates the situation,” Cauthorne said.

Carson called an emergency council meeting for Monday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m.

The town will have its Christmas parade on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 2 p.m. on Main Street. Carson said the state Department of Transportation did approve the town’s parade permit application, and town residents can also attend a Down Home Christmas on Friday from 7-9 p.m. in Town Hall.

Carson said she has keys to Town Hall and all spaces except the police department, main office and evidence room.

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