By Macenna True
After months of dissension in the City of Dresden, the much-anticipated action by many community members came to fruition: The Dresden board of aldermen asked for the mayor’s resignation.
Alderman Sandra Klutts read a resolution that stated Mayor Jeff Washburn had properties demolished without proper consent or notice. It also said that he unduly cost the city of Dresden over $80 thousand for two architectural drawings for a proposed city complex and since the city still does not own the entirety of the property that the design reflects, the city of Dresden will inevitably have to spend more money in the future on architectural plans. Klutts continued that his unprofessional manner and censorship of the city’s Facebook page caused it to be taken down. Therefore, she moved that the city’s page be reinstated and that Jennifer Branscum, the city recorder, be appointed the administrator of the page and the only person allowed to post, but that citizens be allowed to respond accordingly.
Klutts went on to elaborate, saying, “We would ask them (the citizens) please to not post anything that is in violation of the rules of Facebook but they have a right to post things they would like to ask about and they have a right to say things they think about actions that we are all taking regardless of who it is. Also, I know that Mayor Washburn has a personal Facebook page called The Weakley Times, and I would ask per this resolution that he stop posting city information on his page like tornado information and things like that and allow that to be made on the city’s Facebook page, and then if he wants to block citizens on his personal page, that is fine for him to do so. We would request that he cease posting anything pertaining to the city of Dresden on this page. I feel that in proposing this resolution that Mayor Washburn has acted with negligence in areas that he should have shown paperwork, he has been wasteful with the city’s money, and he has acted in an irresponsible way and therefore I propose that he be censored for these reasons, and also for the reasons stated, I ask for his resignation.”
Washburn responded quickly. He defended the money spent on the complex plans, stating the board had requested the designs be modified and made. He then stated, “In regard to the reinstatement of the city Facebook page I would remind you that I am the chief executive of the city of Dresden and you as an Alderman do not have the authority to take away the administrative functions of the mayor. That is an issue that will come out in state law, as well as our charter. I am telling you that I do not believe you have the legal authority to cancel any of the administration functions of the city’s mayor. You may consider it unprofessional, but if they were posting things about you and your husband that they were posting against me and the lies that they were posting about where I was on the cleanup day, and things like that, you would be objecting as well.” In regard to Klutt’s request that he cease posting city business on The Weakley Times’ Facebook page, Washburn said, “you will find out that the word after your name will be defendant, because I will sue each of you individually and as a board to stop that. That is a promise, Ms. Klutts.” He went on to say that Klutts did not attend every meeting therefore she did not know what was going on, saying, “You sit around and listen to the drama queens and then you come and want to be their official representative on the board and that is a problem.” She defended herself by saying she read the minutes of any meeting she misses. She then made an official motion to reinstate the page, which was seconded. Aldermen Anderson, Cobb, Dilday, Klutts and Parker voted yes, while Alderman Moore no. Motion carried. Washburn said, “I will do what I have to do.”