Duncanville Council Votes 4 – 2 for Jameson’s Expulsion
The Duncanville City Council voted in a 4 – 2 vote for the expulsion of former senior councilmember Johnette Jameson, who had already resigned at the end of October after being faced with 12 charges of violating the city’s Home Rule Charter.
Both council members' Cliff Boyd who represents District 1 and Ronald Dotson M.D. who represents district 4 voted against the expulsion while Duncanville Mayor David Green, Councilmember-at-large Patrick Harvey, Councilmember Steven Rutherford of District 2 and Stan Smith in District 3 voted in favor of the expulsion after more than seven hours of public hearing – four hours which included both sides presenting evidence to the roughly 400 people in attendance.
Jameson had been charged with the 12 counts, but only six of the charges saw a majority of the council members voting that she had violated the Home Rule Charter.
As the proceeding began, Jameson’s attorney, Mike Smith of Bickel & Brewer said that for the record he was objecting to the proceedings.
It was also pointed out that since Jameson had already resigned the public hearing was to “try to determine predetermined results.”
Smith mentioned, not verbatim, that how can you expel “nobody” from a vacant office…. “can’t be done.”
Jeremy Fielding of Lynn Tillotson Pinker & Cox, the lawn firm representing the city, opened the public hearing and spoke for almost two hours about the violations noting, as he wrapped up, that the council needs to find her guilty and that she should be expelled.
“Convict her and find her guilty,” he said.
Since Jameson’s seat has become vacant, it is uncertain what will happen, but since she did resign prior to November 1, 2014, in an email reply sent to this reporter from Fielding he did indicate “The charter does require a special election in the event more than six months remains in a council member's term on the date her resignation becomes effective. But the soonest the special election can take place under state election law is on May 9 -- which is the same date as the general election for Councilmember Jameson's seat. So her resignation has no impact on the election schedule.”
He also said that in regard to her decision to resign, “Nor does it impact the public hearing. Under the state constitution (Article XVI, Section 17) and relevant case law, Councilmember Jameson is required to continue to perform her duties until a successor is qualified or she is removed from office. Thus, she is constitutionally required to continue to serve as a council member until the November 22 public hearing. If, after hearing the evidence, the council determines that expulsion is an appropriate remedy for violations of the City Charter, her constitutional duty to continue to serve would immediately terminate and her seat would become vacant and would remain vacant until filled via the May 2015 election.”
To date, according to a response on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 from Duncanville staff, this matter has cost the city $107,141.90 paid to Lynn Tillotson Pinker & Cox, L.L.P. and $39,130.78 paid to Locke Lord LLP. This does not include the cost of the regular Duncanville city attorney, Robert Hagar, for his time and billing spent on this matter.
By Rita Cook
Focus Daily News