Tuesday, September 15, 2015
City attorney: We didn't violate Sunshine Law, but if we did, we didn't mean to
Though Edwards made calls to individual council members to find out how they would vote on the agreement and joint statement, something that is not permitted under the Sunshine Law, he insisted everything was on the up-and-up.
"I don't think there was a Sunshine Law violation," he said, though he quickly hedged his bets by adding, "It certainly wouldn't have been intentional."
The agreement was reached, including the joint statement in which the council absolved Woolston of any and all wrongdoing despite what from all appearances was a last minute act of desperation by Woolston's lawyer.
Edwards said the lawyer had contacted him Sunday, apparently wanting to do anything he could to prevent Monday night's scheduled hearing from taking place. The offer was for Woolston to resign immediately and the council would agree to the statement that Woolston's attorney had drawn up.
Edwards said he took the proposal to his clients, the Joplin City Council, which approved the proposal by a 5-3 vote with Seibert, Morris Glaze, Miranda Lewis, Gary Shaw, and Ryan Stanley approving it and Melodee Colbert Kean, Ben Rosenberg, and Bill Scearce voting against it.
The city attorney said the three who opposed the deal had concerns about the deal. The other five council members, Edwards said, "did not want to get hung up on the language in the joint statement." In other words, Kean, Rosenberg, and Scearce did not want to give Woolston a clean bill of health before a hearing was held to determine if he deserved one.
Seibert said it is time for the city to move on, "(Woolston) is no longer a council member. All of these issues are moot."