Barrett Gets His Fees Paid
During a special called meeting Thursday, the Town Council of Taylortown voted to pay Mayor Ulysses Barrett's legal fees.
Barrett, who had been on the council for 16 years and served as mayor for most of that time, had been a lightning rod for controversy. The State Bureau of Investigation arrested him on three misdemeanor charges in January 2007.
He was completely cleared of all charges, but opponents blocked previously promised fee payments after the most recent election changed the makeup of the council.
"I have called this special meeting to discuss the council's previous 4-1 vote in 2006 to pay the legal fees I incurred as a result of three unmerited allegations made against me," Barrett said, reading from a prepared statement. "After the election in November 2007, there was another vote of 3-2 against the town paying the fees. I have no intention of accepting this decision."
Barrett is convinced that actions taken by some of his opponents are legally actionable, but he has not decided exactly what he will do about it.
He attacked former Mayor Jesse Fuller as "the only board member to participate in my character assassination." Fuller was not present. He and Council member Ellis Ray arrived 10 minutes late, and were not present when the vote to pay Barrett's fees was taken.
Charlotte Worthy made the motion, which was seconded by longtime Barrett supporter Jeffery Moody. Worthy said Moody had made the motion previously, so she would bring the motion this time. All present voted in favor, and absent council members who had not obtained excuses were also counted in favor, so the motion technically passed with a 5-0 majority. The room burst out in applause at its passage.
Barrett had been "absolutely vindicated" in court and by the state board overseeing contractors, his lawyer, Bruce Cunningham, said upon hearing of the decision.
Ray and Fuller arrived just after the meeting adjourned. Ray complained it had been set for a time when Barrett knew he could not be present.
"This is not the last of this," Ray said. "This is not over."
Barrett said in his statement that many people ask him why he puts up with vilification and commended him for his ability to keep silent while being verbally attacked.
"What I say today is not out of anger or retaliation," Barrett said. "A good leader must be able to confront. There are many more good people in this community than bad ones. This is why I serve."
Contact John Chappell at 783-5841 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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