Attorney: Don’t discuss McClenny suit

Published 8:23 am Friday, September 17, 2010

FRANKLIN—Councilman Don Blythe’s attempt to discuss a civil suit against the city in open session was quickly interrupted by City Attorney Taylor Williams Monday night.

Blythe started out by saying he attended last week’s court hearing involving the case of Ronald McClenny.

McClenny, a former Franklin police sergeant, filed a civil suit against the city claiming his service weapon, retired identification card and service award from the city are being unjustly withheld.

Blythe’s comments brought a stern warning from Williams.

“You should not be commenting on an ongoing legal proceeding,” Williams said. “I’m advising you as the lawyer for the city, you should not be commenting on this because what you say could hurt our case.”

Blythe continued to inquire about the case, asking Williams, “Why are you trying to quash it?”

“I will tell you in closed session in confidence what I’m doing, but I am not going to discuss my representation in the case in public,” Williams said.

After discussing another item of business in open session, the council voted to meet in closed session. Under Virginia law, public bodies are permitted to meet in closed session to consult legal counsel concerning litigation.

During the citizen’s time portion of the meeting, McClenny addressed the City Council and requested access to certain Police Department records under the Freedom of Information Act.