Pound Town Council 12-06-2021 - Empty seats

Pound Mayor Stacey Carson sits next to the seats that council members Danny Stanley and Glenn Cantrell emptied moments earlier. Stanley resigned for "health reasons," and Cantrell followed, saying, "I’m not resigning, I’m just leaving." The move left the council without a quorum for the third time in two weeks.

POUND — The same two Pound Town Council members who stopped a council meeting two weeks ago by walking out and didn’t attend a second meeting attempt a week ago have repeated their performance.

Danny Stanley and Glenn Cantrell varied the theme at Monday’s special called council meeting with Stanley announcing his immediate resignation for “health reasons.” Cantrell followed him out of council chambers to catcalls and laughter from the meeting audience.

Monday’s walkout followed attempts by council member Clifton Cauthorne and Leabern Kennedy to petition Wise County Circuit Court for a special election to fill a council seat open more than four months and to resolve payment of town employees furloughed a week ago by Mayor Stacey Carson.

Stanley’s resignation and Cantrell’s walkout left the council lacking a quorum. Circuit Court Judge John C. Kilgore in October ruled in a lawsuit against Cantrell and Stanley that they acted without a legal quorum in meeting without other council and appointing James Pelfrey to fill another open seat.

Before walking out, Cantrell first opposed Cauthorne’s motion to pay town salaried full-time treasurer and acting clerk Melissa Fleming and treasurer Kimberly Justice for 120 hours and 32 hours respectively before furloughing them at midnight Tuesday. Carson furloughed them a week earlier and closed down town hall for allegedly following Cantrell’s instructions to disregard Carson’s instructions.

Carson asked Cantrell if he told Fleming and Justice not to obey her instructions. After a few responses, he finally said he told them that the mayor does not have that authority.

Kennedy then said Cantrell had told the employees not to listen to Carson, referring to “improper text messages.”

“You have created the animosity,” Kennedy told Cantrell. “I have it all in the text messages.”

“I admit that the mayor’s authority to single handedly close down town hall is questionable,” Cauthorne said.

Cantrell tried unsuccessfully to offer a substitute motion to pay them and other hourly employees who did not have key access to town hall.

Cauthorne, responding to Cantrell’s complaint that he was not willing to compromise, said the council could vote later in the meeting to lift the furlough.

“This is the compromise,” Cauthorne told Cantrell and Stanley when they objected. “No compromise is 100%.”

Kennedy was the lone nay vote on the pay and furlough motion, saying that employees should not be paid for time not worked. Fleming later said she was resigning that night. Kennedy also said there was the possibility that the council may have furloughed interim Police Chief Chris Wilcox.

Later that evening, Cauthorne and Kennedy both said that Wilcox would not have been affected because the court order requiring Wilcox to be hired to secure the police evidence room would have overridden the motion.

Kennedy moved to accept former council member Marley Green’s August resignation and hold a public hearing on a petition for Wise County Circuit Court to order a special election to fill that seat. With a tie vote — Cantrell and Stanley voting no — Carson cast a tie breaker top to pass Kennedy’s motion and a public hearing scheduled for Dec. 21 at 6 p.m.

Kennedy offered another motion to define Carson’s duties to represent the town and to direct employees. Before it could come to a vote, Stanley announced he was resigning from council immediately after various terms over the past two decades.

“I’m not resigning,” Cantrell said as he followed Stanley. “I’m just leaving.”

Carson later encouraged town residents to call on Cantrell to participate in the Dec. 21 meeting.

“If we don’t have a meeting on the 21st, we probably won’t have a town next year,” said Cauthorne.

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