|Corrigan Times - Local News
Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company
Corrigan residents file suit against city
CORRIGAN — Five Corrigan residents have filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Corrigan and seven city officials are named individually as plaintiffs in a petition filed in the 411th District Court seeking to invalid all actions taken in a special Corrigan City Council meeting on Aug. 13, 2012. The defendants were served with notice of the lawsuit Tuesday. The petition first finds fault with the notice of the meeting which was posted Aug. 10, 2012 and does not state the subject of the meeting. Lufkin attorney Clay Dark states on behalf of the plaintiffs, Billy John Sage, Bryan Fann, Donnis L. Bergman, Lois L. Bergman and Bobby Smiley, that the Texas Government Code Section 551.041 (which became effective Sept. 1, 1993, requires governmental bodies to give written notice of the date, hour, place and subject of each meeting held. In the notice made an attachment to the Plaintiff’s Original Petition, the agenda items include calling the meeting to order, a prayer, citizens forum, adjourn to closed executive session under Texas Local Government Code 551.074 to deliberate the appointment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of a public officer or employee. Under that item, there is listed to sub-items: A. Discuss, evaluate, consider and take action on the continued employment or termination of the police chief, and B. Discuss the possible appointment of an interim police chief. The agenda then states the council will return to open session and act on item discussed during executive session and adjourn the meeting. When council made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Council Member George Murphy declined and refused to participate in the closed session. The other members retired into an executive session. A short time later they returned to the city hall auditorium and announced that the meeting was open to a citizens forum but refused to state the subject of the special meeting, according to the petition. After the forum, the petition states the council intended to return to another executive session, but Police Chief Ray Stubbs announced that if the purposed of the executive session was to consider his employment status, he wished such consideration be held in an open meeting, and not in executive session. At the close of council’s discussion a resolution of “no confidence” was passed against then-Police Chief Ray Stubbs. After the no-confidence resolution was passed, the council passed another motion to employ Darrell Gibson as Interim Police Chief without discussion. Immediately after the meeting was adjourned the plaintiff’s petition states that Interim City Manager Grimes Fortune orally terminated Stubbs and demanded his badge, gun and any other property in Stubbs’ possession that belonged to the City of Corrigan. Stubbs complied and surrendered his badge and gun on the afternoon of Aug. 13 before leaving city hall. Dark maintains in his petition that the acts of the City Council and Fortune are wrongful, illegal and contrary to state law, Corrigan City Ordinances and the policies and procedures established for city employees. The petition asks for a declaratory judgment that the actions taken on Aug. 13 null and void. The lawsuit asks the court to issue and order reinstating Ray Stubbs as Chief of Police for the City of Corrigan until his employment may be property terminated and further asks the court to declare the appointment of interim chief Darrell Gibson is void and contrary to law.