Government officials in Bristol, VA are not making the details of their intention to oust Councilman Doug Fleenor public.
Fleenor is in the third year of his first term on the City Council. He gained attention for his role as a whistleblower who helped federal prosecutors take down several high-ranking employees at Bristol Virginia Utilities during a corruption investigation.
Now, he’s being accused of malfeasance and neglect of duties, among other things. “There’s a couple things I just don’t want to talk about,” he told News Channel 11 in an interview Wednesday.
According to City Manager Randall Eads, Fleenor doesn’t have to talk about it, at least not yet. Eads cites Section 4.07 of the city charter in defense of this, which describes the process of removing an elected council member. It requires the council to provide a notice, clearly outlining their intention and grounds for firing. It also allows public officials to challenge allegations against them privately, away from the critical eye of voters who elected them.
Fleenor says if council decides to remove him, it’s “unlikely” that he will challenge the decision, alluding to tensions between him and other council members.
“It was a chilled meeting, you can tell when you’re not wanted,” Fleenor said, referring to an August 14 council meeting when he raised questions about a pay raise for the city’s chief financial officer outside of his understanding of the budget.
Fleenor was visibly upset about the situation while talking to reporters, admitting he’s not perfect. “But I’ve tried to vote my conscience, and when I felt something was out of whack I guess I get a little emotional.”