McLemore responds to reprimand

Published 10:02 am Wednesday, June 29, 2011

FRANKLIN—Two weeks after being publicly reprimanded by the City Council for his actions, Councilman Greg McLemore fired back.

In a statement he read aloud during Monday’s council meeting, McLemore said, “On behalf of myself and the citizens I so proudly represent, with the exception of Councilman Don Blythe, I rebuke your censure and hereby publicly reprimand this council for its embarrassing behavior and leadership.”

The reprimand stemmed from McLemore questioning the legality of a Virginia Auction and Collection employee booting a vehicle of a delinquent Southampton County taxpayer in the parking lot of Paul D. Camp Community College.

McLemore told the council that he was within his rights to ask the question and he deserved a legal remedy for being censured.

“I also refuse to condone or agree to continue to allow this behavior to continue without noting these violations of (the council’s) power to the state General Assembly and attorney general,” he said

Mayor Jim Councill said Tuesday he stands by the council’s decision to reprimand McLemore and called his actions with the Virginia Auction employee an embarrassment.

“He has a right to his opinion and he has a right to the way he sees things, but others see it differently,” Councill said.

McLemore is against allowing Virginia Auction to boot vehicles belonging to those who owe delinquent personal property taxes. The boot makes it impossible to move a vehicle, which is often towed and impounded until the taxes are paid.

Blythe, who during the June 13 meeting did not vote for reprimanding McLemore, said the council handled the censure incorrectly, but he stopped short of calling the closed session to discuss it completely unfair to McLemore.

“I felt we as a council should have had better judgment on how we handled this,” Blythe said. “There should have been a more calm way to handle it.”

Councilman Barry Cheatham said he too stood by the decision to censure McLemore “as it was done for justifiable reasons.”

Councilman Benny Burgess also stands by the decision and was not surprised by McLemore’s statement Monday night.

“He takes no responsibility for his own actions,” Burgess said.