Former police officer looks into collection of funds

Published 10:15 am Wednesday, November 21, 2012


FRANKLIN—A former Franklin police officer has taken legal steps to find out how much money the city has collected in restitution from primarily alcohol-related accidents that result in criminal charges.

Sgt. Ronnie McClenny, who retired in 2009, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the city manager’s office. A FOIA is filed to view public records when a government entity refuses to share them.

McClenny, who continues to battle Police Chief Phil Hardison for not allowing him to buy his service weapon upon retirement, said he chose the FOIA route knowing the city would not release the records.

McClenny in 2008 researched the ordinance, for which City Council recognized him.

The ordinance allows the city to collect restitution of up to $1,000 from drivers who were drunk, driving recklessly, or driving without a license when they had an accident.

“I want to find out if anybody is collecting anything, or if it was just smoke and mirrors when City Council adopted the ordinance,” he said. “I bet you that not one cent has been collected in the past 4½ years. Look how many thousands of dollars that could have been collected. It might reduce the deficit some.”

“Taylor (Williams, city attorney) will be taking the lead on the investigation,” said City Manager Randy Martin, noting the city would honor McClenny’s request.

“We will comply with the law,” Martin said. “We will do our best to comply with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act request.”

City Treasurer Dinah Babb would not say how much was collected and referred questions to Williams.

Williams on Tuesday said he had not been able to begin research on the request.