The council members, Carl Collins, Anne Carr and Bennie Massey, who form a committee designated to work on the city’s tax and financial issues, submitted a statement to the Enterprise regarding the issue.
The statement said the council members were “denied access to information because the mayor was away, and he wanted to be there when the data was reviewed.”
According to the statement, an open records request in compliance with KRS 61.870-61.884 was made.
The mayor has three days in which to comply with the request, according to the regulation. If access is denied, an appeal can be filed with the Attorney General.
Carr said the committee gave the mayor and clerk an additional three days to get the material together for them to review Sept. 11. She noted they have been waiting for eight months for the 2007-2008 audit, which must be amended due to tax problems, before the 2008-2009 budget may be adopted.
Collier said he would present the council members with the information they have requested during a scheduled meeting between himself and the three council members on Thursday.
The mayor added he has no problems with giving information to council members.
“They wanted to come into the office and look at stuff. No one is allowed in the office unless they are bonded, other than the auditor or CPA on official business,” he said. “They can look at anything they want. But they aren’t going to come up here and run roughshod over my clerk. If they misplace something, the clerk will be responsible.”
Collins said he was also upset over the fact that a duly elected council member is not permitted to step into the office of the city clerk.
According to Collins, in the open records request the mayor is also asked to explain the reason for this and cite the law that gives him the authority to deny council members admittance to the clerk’s office.
“How can we work on the financial situation of our city if we do not have access to public information records unless the mayor is present?” Massey asked.
Collier said state law requires the clerk to be responsible for all city documents.
“She is held responsible if something is wrong. We give the council members anything they want. But, you can’t just come in here and rummage through stuff,” Collier said when asked why the council members were not permitted into the clerk’s office. “I wasn’t allowed in the office when I was on council. I don’t care for them looking through whatever they want. But there are guidelines as to how to get it.”