<strong>By Peggy Mackenzie<\/strong>\r\n<h2>At the Special Session of City Council on Sept. 30, council was taken aback when Council member Edward \u201cEddie\u201d Johns abruptly offered up his resignation from the Lewisburg City Council after only three months in office, stating he had \u201cno reason to fight city hall.\u201d<\/h2>\r\nIn his written statement, Johns writes, \u201cThe recent \u2018legal opinion\u2019 rendered to the Mayor and the City Manager by the City Attorney seems to indicate that no change in the city administration or approach to management of the city affairs is required under the amended Charter. I strongly disagree.\u201d\r\n\r\nJohns also differed with the City Attorney\u2019s specific advice on law enforcement oversight which he termed as \u201cparticularly frightening and presents significant exposure to the city. This \u2018legal opinion\u2019 weighed heavily in my final decision.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn a prepared written statement supporting his opinions regarding the viability of traditional committees, the procedure for agenda setting, what is required for meeting minutes, whether the use of general order by the Police Department is appropriate, City Attorney Tom White stated, \u201cIt is my opinion that operating the City under the same procedures as were in place with the prior administration is proper - unless and until the City Council votes to change those procedures.\u201d\r\n\r\nAdditionally, he writes, \u201cIt is my understanding that at the organizational meeting on Council held on June 25, 2019, there was no adoption, re-adoption, or amendment to the procedures regarding agenda setting, meeting minutes, or the use of general orders by the police department. As such, per Section 115.02(b), the procedures uses by prior Council for these matters would remain in effect.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cWith regard to the traditional committees used by Council (finance, public safety and public works), it is my opinion that by appointing members to said committees at the organizational meeting, the committees were \u2018created\u2019 and as no specific procedures were adopted at the organizational meeting governing the traditional committees, it is appropriate for them to operate pursuant to the procedures used by prior Council.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cThere is not question,\u201d White concluded, \u201cthat Council is the governing body of the City. Further, our Amended Charter makes clear that \u2018Council shall determine its own rules and order of business.\u2019 As such, if Council does not like the way the business of the City is being conducted, Council has the power to change that.\u201d\r\n\r\nAt the start of the meeting, Mayor Beverly White asserted in a prepared statement, \u201cWe have a City Charter that lays out how the city has been functioning. It was put [in] place by this council as a reflection of how the city has been doing business, with the understanding that the city was previously operating effectively and successfully... People want to know that the city is still stable - and we are - we are respected throughout this state and beyond for how we have conducted ourselves in the past... If anyone has an agenda to make the city fail because of a preconceived idea that the city is not being managed well, that agenda will hurt our citizens most of all. It will also hurt our employees and their livelihoods.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe mayor\u2019s statement was in response to Johns\u2019 generally perceived unaccountable and unseemly accusations about the City of Lewisburg and how it is being run during the Sept. 17 Council meeting. Johns\u2019 resignation came as a surprise to all members of Council.\r\n\r\nFor his part, Johns stated, \u201cIt was never my intention to be the source of any unpleasantness in our community. This leaves me in a position where I cannot serve the people as I have sworn to do.\u201d To the end of the meeting, he maintained his perspective that all governing structures \u201cmust be changed\u201d and that his position was based on a \u201cpurely philosophical one - a fundamental misunderstanding of city government.\u201d Johns will step down on October 31, 2019 to give Council time to select a replacement without any gap in his sworn duty to serve.\r\n\r\nThe council members went on to discuss formalizing a set of guidelines for committee functions and responsibilities as a way of \u201cshoring up.\u201d Council member Mark Etten stated, \u201cAnything presented or approved [at committee meetings] comes back to the city council.\u201d He said, \u201cWe can operate under those guidelines until we opt to change them.\u201d City Manager Jacy Faulkner said she was open to any procedural shifts the city council needed and would supply any and all detailing council required. As far as political or legal procedures are concerned, the City Manager reviews all letters that go out of the office as standard procedure for any managing organization, according to City Clerk Shannon Beatty.