Dan Johnson raises ethics concerns involving other council membe - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Dan Johnson raises ethics concerns involving other council members

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Louisville Metro Councilman Dan Johnson Louisville Metro Councilman Dan Johnson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Metro Councilman Dan Johnson thinks he wasn't treated fairly during a recent council meeting.

For months, Johnson has battled accusations that he inappropriately touched Councilwoman Jessica Green.

His office released a statement last week, saying that three speakers at a recent meeting condemned Johnson as guilty without evidence. The letter says, in part, "Does being in support of Councilwoman Green mean that you must consider Dan Johnson guilty without a fair trial and due process?"

Johnson's office also called out Metro Council President David Yates, saying, "The President stated himself that speakers should not make remarks to or concerning Council Members individually yet in these instances the name of Councilman Johnson continued to be used in a negative connotation and was left unchecked by President Yates."

You can read the full letter below:

Council Members and Staff,

Per Councilman Johnson, he asked me to take a moment to remind everyone of Council rules that were violated yesterday in hopes that it will better serve the entire body going forward.

During last night’s meeting President Yates stated as is stated at every meeting, “Let me remind those addressing the Council to please refrain from any profanity or making  derogatory statements to any Council member individually” he then followed up with “I’d also ask each of the speakers to please respect the clock, um, there is a three minute limit on each speaker, in the event you go over it would infringe on the next speaker’s time, so please be cognizant of that three minutes.  Thank you”

Three of last night’s speakers spoke to the matter currently pending involving Councilman Johnson and Councilwoman Green.  All three were from District 1 and spoke very emotionally on the matter.  What concerns our office is that all three were listed as speaking in support of Councilwoman Green but rather used their time to condemn Councilman Johnson as guilty without evidence.  Does being in support of Councilwoman Green mean that you must consider Dan Johnson guilty without a fair trial and due process?

Furthermore these speakers directly named Councilman Johnson on five occasions while given public speaking time as regulated by President Yates.  The President stated himself that speakers should not make remarks to or concerning Council Members individually yet in these instances the name of Councilman Johnson continued to be used in a negative connotation and was left unchecked by President Yates.

Perhaps President Yates should consider limiting or not allowing at all such matters to be discussed by members of the public at Council Meetings.  It is going to be difficult for any President to know the direction any member of the public will use their time but in this instance the President allowed for nearly ten minutes of public Council meeting time to be consumed by condemning a sitting Council Member as if he is guilty of these accusations by people that are not qualified or presumably privy to insider knowledge of the matters pending.  What would have been the President’s reaction if speakers had come to the Council meeting in support of Councilman Johnson and used their time calling a different sitting Council member a liar, prevaricator, or even much worse?  We may never know because Councilman Johnson would never support members of the public, whether they support him or not, to come into our Council Chambers and make such bold and negative statements about one of his colleagues.

While Councilman Johnson felt it was important that he bring this matter to the entire body’s attention, he did first follow up with President Yates directly with a brief note that has not been responded to by President Yates.  In the interest of full disclosure on this matter, here is the text of the note given the President Yates from Councilman Johnson on this matter:

“You are a lawyer, do you not understand innocent until proven guilty?  I am so unhappy with you.  Any other time a constituent would have been called out at the three minute segments for voicing Council Members names.  Why not last night?  - Dan Johnson”

Councilman Johnson is hopeful that by bringing these issues to your attention not that we will be able to avoid further violations of Council meeting rules and that President Yates will be more apt to address any such issues as they might occur.  It may be in the best interest of the President’s duties and the decorum of the Council meetings to not allow public addresses concerning this matter since these individuals could continue to use the time to blast a sitting Council Member as guilty until proven innocent.

The additional rule that was allegedly violated yesterday is actually more than a rule but rather a law.  It has been brought to the attention of Councilman Johnson through several eye witnesses that wish to remain anonymous in fear of retribution, that Council Members Yates, Blackwell, and Welch were engaging in electioneering before and after Committee of the Whole with one of the declared candidates for the District 21 seat, Nicole George.  The Councilman doesn’t feel that during Committee of the Whole on Council days is the appropriate time for candidates to come into City Hall to raise money or gain support from Council Members or staff members and is hopeful that everyone will keep this in mind going forward.

If there are any questions or follow up for Councilman Johnson regarding the issues listed above, please contact me and I will be happy to convey your thoughts to Councilman Johnson for response.

Thanks! 

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