HomeNewsWhat was said during the closed Jackson City Council meeting on Friday?

What was said during the closed Jackson City Council meeting on Friday?

Jackson Mayor Scott Conger and City Attorneys Lewis Cobb and Teresa Luna met with five members of the City Council Friday morning at the request of Councilman J.P. Stovall.

Stovall published on his social media pages a copy of an e-mail he sent to Conger, the attorneys and the other eight members of the Council Wednesday night after Conger’s chief of staff, Alex Reed, had turned himself in to authorities earlier in the day after he’d been indicted by the Madison County Grand Jury on a count each of stalking and illegal tracking with an electronic device.

The five present Councilmembers were Stovall, Johnny Dodd, Julie Holt, Candace Busby and Larry Lowrance.

The group met for about a little more than an hour behind closed doors in an attorney-client meeting that’s granted to legislative bodies by the Constitution. Conger and four of the Council members declined to speak on the meeting. Stovall was willing to speak about some of the content of the meeting.

“I just wanted to have the meeting because I was getting a lot of questions from my constituents, and I know most of my colleagues on the Council – if not all of them – were getting them too,” Stovall said. “And I felt it was worth a meeting so we could know how to answer those questions.

“I consider Alex a friend, and I hate that this is all happening, but we need to know what is going on and if we as a Council need to respond as well.”

Attorney-client meetings for legislative bodies are mandated to not allow any discussion or deliberation among the legislators. It’s meant to be information given from the attorneys to the legislators.

Stovall said a lot of the conversation consisted of Cobb and Luna defining the difference in City matters between legislative issues that either affect or are affected by the Council and human resources issues that are handled within City government by the Mayor and those under his leadership in city government and administration.

Stovall declined to get into detail about the legal portion of the discussion, but there was one question he wanted an answer to and many who contacted him wanted to know too.

“I wanted to know when did Mayor Conger and the city attorneys know,” Stovall said. “And all three of them said they learned of this about 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, not long before everyone else began to hear about it and it was ultimately reported in the media later in the evening.”

Conger released a statement Thursday morning after confirming to The Post Wednesday evening that Reed had been placed on leave without pay until the matter is resolved.

“I wish to address a matter that has come to the public’s attention involving a member of our leadership team. It has been reported that Mr. Rowland Alexander “Alex” Reed, the Chief of Staff, has been placed under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) on serious charges, including stalking and unauthorized electronic tracking of a motor vehicle. Mr. Reed has cooperated with the authorities and turned himself in to face these allegations.

“In light of these developments, Mr. Reed has been placed on administrative leave without pay and has relinquished all city-issued items, as per our standard protocols in such situations. We are committed to ensuring that the City of Jackson’s operations remain unaffected and continue to serve the best interests of our community during this period.

“As we navigate through this challenging time, it is crucial to remember the foundational principle of our justice system – the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. It is important that we allow the legal process to unfold in a fair and just manner for all parties involved.

“We understand the concerns this situation may raise among our citizens, and we want to assure you that we are fully committed to transparency and integrity in handling this matter. We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available as the legal process progresses.

“Your trust in your city’s leadership is of utmost importance, and we are dedicated to upholding the values and standards that define our great city. We thank you for your understanding and continued support.”

Reed was arraigned in Circuit Court on Friday with two charges against him in Madison County – stalking and illegal tracking with an electronic device. There’s a third charge against him in Chester County on another charge of illegal tracking with an electronic device, and he’s scheduled to appear for an arraignment there Tuesday morning. He pled not guilty to both Madison County charges and was released later that day on a $5,000 bond.

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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