VOL. 133 | NO. 95 | Friday, May 11, 2018
County Veto Override Vote Called Off
By Bill Dries
Shelby County commissioners put off a vote Wednesday, May 9, on overriding Mayor Mark Luttrell’s veto of a resolution to renew the appointment of Julian Bolton as the county’s legislative policy adviser.
The resolution commissioners passed in April included amendments that weren’t in the version the commission office sent Luttrell, meaning he vetoed a version that had not passed.
Luttrell and commissioners have clashed repeatedly on the general idea of the commission hiring its own attorney. Bolton, a former county commissioner, is an attorney.
Bolton was first appointed as an adviser in 2016.
Chairwoman Heidi Shafer said the commission will consider a new resolution at its regular Monday meeting that includes the amendments and possibly some new changes to it. If it passes, the commission would then deliver that to Luttrell.
“We want to give him a fair opportunity,” Shafer said of Luttrell and what is referred to as a “scrivener’s error.”
Shafer said the error is an “unusual situation.”
County attorney Kathryn Pascover said the earlier unamended version of the resolution “does not reflect the will of the body as voted on at the time.”
If the commission approves a revised version, Luttrell would then have 10 days to sign the resolution, veto it or allow it to take effect without his signature. If Luttrell were to veto a resolution, the commission would then have 30 days to act on any motion to override the veto. An override would take nine votes on the 13-member body.
Meanwhile, Shafer said no county commissioner came to review the billing records for legal work Bolton has done for the commission, despite a request by two unidentified commissioners earlier in the week.
And in a written statement, she defended the decision to regard the billing records as information protected by the attorney-client privilege and not available to the public.
“While not all communications between the Commission and Mr. Bolton may be privileged, especially those provided publicly in a public meeting, under the circumstances with litigation pending between the Mayor and the Commission the detail of Mr. Bolton’s bills are protected,” the statement reads. “Some of the bills may be subject to possible redaction, but the full bills were made available to review by Commissioners only so as not to delay their review of the detail.”
“Since the Commissioners have been allowed full access to the billing detail, their right to know the full content of the bills has been satisfied,” she added. “Moreover, publication of attorney billing summaries and protection of detail that might reveal attorney client communications/mental impressions has been sanctioned by the Tennessee Supreme Court and by Tennessee’s Open Records Counsel.”