Article By Tammy Moore Teague
A motion to dismiss has been filed by former Mansfield City Mayor, Larry Austin. Austin, who in January filed a lawsuit against the city claiming the council violated the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act by illegally conducting city business via text messages. In resolution, the defendants including Sheri Hopkins, Rick McDaniel and Beverly Lyons admitted they violated the FOIA law and proposed a settlement.
Additionally, the lawsuit claimed the council’s removal of the mayor’s duties as listed in the personnel handbook policy was unlawful. A motion to dismiss this part of the lawsuit was filed by Austin’s attorney, Joey McCutcheon, on March 22. “It can be refiled,” city attorney Matt Ketcham said. “I don’t forsee why it would be, but as of now it is dismissed.”
Alderman Georganna Mabry inquired about who was liable for paying the legal fees involved in the lawsuit. Ketcham responded that Austin paid his personal legal fees and that the city would be responsible their own.