Resident Who Sued Casper City Council Again Asks For Executive Session Action
A Casper resident who successfully sued the city for violating the Wyoming Public Meetings act formally asked the city council on Tuesday to reveal what it did in an illegal executive session two years ago.
"Again, I renewed my request to know what the city council did with my complaint, how they disposed of my complaint," Debra Cheatham said after the council's regular bimonthly meeting.
"They said they made a decision on it," Cheatham said. "I asked what that decision was, and I renewed my request to know what direction or guidance they gave the city manager in that meeting."
The dispute had its roots in 2014 when former John Patterson denied that work on a retention pond at the Hogadon Ski Area caused silting in neighbors' retention ponds downhill, according to court documents.
Despite that denial, city crews cleaned one of the neighbor's ponds and Patterson paid another land owner $1,200 for him to clean his pond.
Cheatham brought her concern about Patterson's action during the public comment period of a council meeting on April 7, 2015.
She said Patterson illegally used city resources for these remediations, and asked city council to investigate, according to court documents.
On May 5, 2015, council members Robin Mundell and Ray Pacheco said the council reviewed her complaint in executive session on April 14, 2015, made its decision and told her in a letter they couldn't say what was done. Then-Mayor Charlie Powell said the matter was closed.
Cheatham then sued in June 2015.
Last month, Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey issued an oral ruling agreeing with Cheatham, saying the city violated the Open Meetings Act.
Cheatham spoke to the council on Sept. 20 about her request.
Late last week, she received a transcript of Forgey's ruling and distributed it to council members on Tuesday.
After the meeting, Mayor Kenyne Humphrey said the city will need to meet with its legal counsel before responding.
"Until we meet with our attorney and we have the official signed order, we really aren't moving forward with anything," Humphrey said.
"That being said, we will schedule an appointment with the city council's representing attorney in this situation, and basically look at how we want to move forward," she said.