Mayor, police chief must attend FOIA training as part of settlement
EGYPT, Ark. – Yet another Arkansas government agency has been ordered to pay attorney fees and attend training after not following open records law.
The City of Egypt, which had the man arrested during several of the records requests, also dropped several criminal charges as part of the settlement agreement.
Stephen Warren, represented by Attorney Zachary Morrison of the Rees Law Firm in Jonesboro, prevailed in the dispute Tuesday, Dec. 17 after a settlement was reached with the City of Egypt, Arkansas, outlining the following terms:
- Egypt will pay $1,400 for attorney’s fees and costs
- Egypt will dismiss criminal charges against Warren including disorderly conduct and harassment after the police chief arrested him during an open records request
- All city officials and employees except City Recorder/Treasurer Joy Lingo and City Legal Advisor Rhonda Davis agree to attend a FOIA training event within six months of signing this agreement
- Egypt agrees to provide responses to the FOIA requests
- In exchange, Warren will dismiss his FOIA complaint against the city in circuit court
Among others, this means Mayor Jerry Cook and Chief Gerald Goza are required to take training to comply with FOIA law – or “FOIA crap” as the mayor was alleged in the lawsuit to have said.
Mayor Cook was accused of having Warren arrested after Warren made open records requests with the city recorder. Video showed the chief admitting the mayor wanted him taken in. In all, Warren was charged with harassment once and disorderly conduct twice. On Tuesday, all three “bogus” charges were dismissed by Special District Judge Dennis Zolper in Craighead County District Court.
“The favorable resolution of these matters, including the Court’s dismissal of the bogus criminal charges against my client Mr. Warren, signifies the wrongdoing by the City of Egypt,” Morrison said. “Our law firm will continue to advocate for the common man and will always hold government officials accountable.”
The City of Egypt hasn’t responded to previous requests for comment by NEA Report.
To read more about the case, visit the original story here.