Creel suspension in hands of attorneys
RED BAY – An attorney for suspended Red Bay Police Chief Pat Creel said that no motions have been filed against the city, even though he believes the council was out of line in suspending Creel Monday night.
"We do not believe that was a legal action," Russellville attorney John McReynolds said. "Right now, we are looking at all of our options."
Creel was handed a letter signed by three of the city's four council members following Monday's meeting notifying him that he was suspended with pay. Council members Bobby Nelson, Ann Wilkins and Patsy Hammock signed the letter, which stated that Creel had the right to an appeal, but did not give grounds for which the suspension was being made.
The city council did not vote on the matter.
McReynolds said he will be looking at records from the meeting as well as videotaped footage of the meeting to see what transpired that night.
Due to the fact that no votes were taken concerning Creel's status with the department, McReynolds believes the action is void.
"Right now there is nothing to file against because there has not been a valid action made by the council," McReynolds said.
Red Bay City Attorney Brian Hamilton, of Russellville, and Councilwoman Ann Wilkins referred all questions to Mayor Jeff Reid.
Reid and Councilman Ricky Holland said they were unaware of the other council members intentions Monday night.
"As far as I am concerned, he can come back to work," Reid said. "But Chief Creel is a good character person and doesn't want to cause any problems."
Reid said the council would discuss the matter at its March 17 meeting.
"We will let it go forward even though it was done illegally," he said.
Assistant Police Chief Jana Jackson will serve as the acting chief until the matter is resolved.
"The letter said that I would be acting chief for 10 days, so that's all I know," Jackson said.
Reid said allegations that Nelson, Wilkins and Hammock violated the state's open meetings law have been reported to state Attorney General Troy King's office.