Why Councilman Doug Fleenor's reasons for removal are not yet public

Bristol, VA City Manager Randall Eads says there is nothing keeping Councilman Doug Fleenor himself from making the reasons for his ousting publicly available. 

But until Fleenor decides to make that information public, Eads says the city is not allowed to release the documents outlining the council's intention to remove him.

Eads sent out a press release Thursday evening confirming this after the city conducted a legal review. The review asked if a city charter, which allows council members in danger of removal the option to challenge allegations against them privately, is in conflict with the state of Virginia's Freedom of Information Act. 

The release reads as follows: 

"In this specific instance, the City Charter states the removal hearing will be private unless Mr. Fleenor chooses to have a public hearing on the matter. While the Charter is silent on the disclosure of any evidence associated with a private hearing on this matter, it can be presumed that any evidence associated with the removal of Mr. Fleenor must be kept private until Mr. Fleenor decides to make the information public. There is no rule of law or any other mechanism which prevents Mr. Fleenor from allowing the media and general public to view the Notice and Amended Notice of Intent to Remove him from Council. The decision for this document to remain private is his and his alone."

The release went on to say that the city is denying all Freedom of Information Act requests related to this matter. "The City anticipates the media to have a court to weigh in on this matter to resolve this issue between the City Charter and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. The City looks forward to advising the court of its position and the release of all evidence in this case," it said. 

Fleenor revealed some details of the allegations against him in an interview Wednesday. "Neglect of duty, malfeasance and like I said there is one other thing I'm consulting someone about so I cant disclose that. I'm not trying to hide anything," he said. 

News Channel 11 followed up with Fleenor Thursday. He said he's thinking about releasing the documents on Monday. 


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