County to amend motion in Preston case


Based on recent ruling by judge

By Stan Welch

Anderson County is hoping to turn Judge Roger Couch’s reasoning in his ruling in the Preston case against him. Couch, after months of delay in ruling on the County’s suit to recover the severance package awarded Preston in 2008, disqualified the votes of former council members Michael Thompson, and Ron Wilson based on economic interests the two had in the outcome.

Wilson had knowledge that his daughter had a lucrative consulting contract with the county; a contract Preston signed just weeks before Wilson crafted the severance agreement in contradiction to the legal advice rendered to the county. Thompson. Chairman of the Council at the time, was actively seeking a job from the county and was receiving job training at county expense.

The county also asked that Bill McAbee’s vote be disqualified, arguing that he and his associate Amy Plummer had traveled extensively at county expense as well as having profited from real estate transactions with the county, to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.

Couch, in his ruling, not only upheld McAbee’s vote, but without either side requesting such a decision, he also disqualified Cindy Wilson and Bob Waldrep, saying that lawsuits brought against them by Preston constituted an economic interest on their part. In his ruling, he found for Preston and refused to provide relief to the county.

The county council has recently authorized the county’s attorneys in the case to amend their motion to reconsider, which was filed several months ago. That amendment points out that with four votes disqualified, a legal quorum no longer existed, and any action taken by a minority of the total membership is thereby null and void.

Roberts Rules of Order, as well as both county and state ordinance, state that no business can be conducted by less than a quorum of the full body.