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Giving a Fire Truck to a Citizen and the Right of a Citizen to Vote at a Commission Meeting

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Reviewed Date: May 31, 2012

Original Author: 
Darden, Ron
Date of Material: 
Apr 10, 2012


Subjects:
Purchasing--Surplus property disposal
Meetings--Planning and management

Giving a Fire Truck to a Citizen and the Right of a Citizen to Vote at a Commission Meeting

Summary: 
MTAS was asked about the legality of the city commission giving a fire truck to a citizen and the right of a citizen to vote at a commission meeting.

Knowledgebase-Giving a Fire Truck to a Citizen and the Right of a Citizen to Vote at a Commission MeetingMrs. Marsha Knight, City Recorder
Town of Beersheba Springs
P.O. Box 546
Beersheba Springs, Tennessee 37305

Dear Mrs. Knight,

We recently discussed the legality of the city commission giving a fire truck to a citizen and the right of a citizen to vote at a commission meeting.

First of all, it is illegal for the city to give a fire truck or any other public property to a citizen. If challenged, the commissioners may be ordered by a court to repay the value of the fire truck to the town. When commissioners vote on an issue, their actions must be in compliance with the state and federal constitutions and state, federal and local laws, including common law (rulings of the courts). Their vote cannot be based only on what a commissioner things is right.

Only the commissioners may vote at a commission meeting. The commission may permit (but are not required) citizens to speak at a commission meeting, but citizens are only entitled to vote at the election of the commissioners, which is every two years. Your town has a representative democracy.

Please let me know if you have additional questions or comments.

Sincerely,
Ron Darden


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Information written by MTAS staff was based on the law at the time and/or a specific sets of facts. The laws referenced may have changed and/or the technical advice provided may not be applicable to your city or circumstances. Always consult with your city attorney or an MTAS consultant before taking any action based on information posted to this website.