Guin resigns as city attorney via letter
by Daniel Gaddy
Feb 05, 2012 | 1823 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Carbon Hill City Council on Saturday accepted the resignation of city attorney Ken Guin, who cited out-of-control spending and personal politics by the council as his reasons for leaving the position.

Guin and Mayor Chris Hart were not present for the meeting. However, council member Chris Pschirer read Guin’s letter aloud to the council and about 20 city residents who attended the meeting.

In the letter, Guin said his decision was not a reflection on Hart’s leadership, and he commended the mayor for efforts to move the city forward with projects like the city’s splash pad and a recent ordinance that calls for unsafe structures to be destroyed.

“You have been willing to take on tough challenges,” Guin wrote in his letter. “Unfortunately many members of your council, publicly and privately, have tried to run your efforts down and oppose you simply because the idea of the proposal is yours. That’s unfair to you and childish on the part of the council.”

Guin also referred to a budget analysis he presented to the council Thursday. The analysis states the city will be $300,000 in debt by the end of the fiscal year if the council continues spending at its current rate.

“It (the council) has operated on a system of blindly approving projects and funding without considering — much less understanding — the financial consequences to the city,” Guin wrote in the letter.

Guin also said the behavior of several members of the council has been unprofessional.

“Mayor, these city council members, along with others, are making a mockery of the city,” he wrote.

After finishing the letter, Pschirer said he feels some of the figures in the analysis are questionable and several council members agreed.

“I just don’t see where we have had that much money to spend in the city to start with,” said council member Scott Wright.

Guin’s budget estimate had the city’s total revenue at $1.13 million.

Wright also said many of the expenses the council approved were aimed at bringing more money into the city, expenses like funds for a matching grant for the community’s splash pad and attorney’s fees to create the ordinance approving alcohol sales in Carbon Hill.

Each council member said it was unfair to blame the council for the city’s financial problems.

Council member Jacque Allred pointed out that the council only received access to the city’s financial statements in January.

“We’ve been left in the dark and that is part of the issue,” she said.

Around a dozen members of the audience applauded when the council voted to accept Guin’s resignation. The measure passed unanimously.

Pschirer also introduced a measure that gives the city council authority to choose the next city attorney. He said the mayor currently has final say in appointing a lawyer to the position.

The measure passed with five yes votes and council member Willie Clayton abstaining.

In other business:

• The council voted to accept the resignation of Christian Gann from the Carbon Hill Utilities Board.

• The council voted to reinstate James Pete Bray as a member of the utilities board. Bray was one of four utility board members removed from office in January.