Carrollton pushes through settlement with former city attorney

By Gary Scott on June 18, 2016 at 7:33am

Carrollton City Council members narrowly voted in favor of an insurance settlement with a former city attorney during a special meeting last night.

Anne Clough was terminated as city attorney last October. Mayor pro-tem Joe Harness said the $17,500 settlement was for claims made by Clough in relation to her employment contract with the city.

An article from the Greene Prairie Press from March of this year indicates city council refused to either confirm or deny a question asked by a resident about if the city was settling an alleged sexual harassment claim being threatened by Clough.

We asked Harness about whether the complaint was related to sexual harassment, and he said he couldn’t answer that question because the settlement hasn’t been finalized.

Harness says aldermen Sharon Butler, Susie Keller and Francis Baker insisted on Clough being fired last October, because he says they “didn’t like her.”

Newspaper reports indicate Clough was canned after refusing to answer questions during meetings asked by aldermen and members of the public over the course of several months.

Voting against the settlement were Butler and Keller. Harness, Dewayne Freand and Baker voted in favor, although Baker was quoted as calling the settlement a “bunch of crap”. Alderman Tom Wilson was not present.

Harness says this was the cheaper option.

“Cheaper than going to litigation if she files,” he says.

Reporter: “So, you don’t think that she deserves to be getting this payout?”

Harness: “Me, personally, no I do not. Because, she was an appointed official, and she serves at the desire of the mayor. I just happened to be the mayor at the time when everybody wanted her fired for whatever reason, and we fired her.”Aldermen spent about 45 minutes in executive session discussing the matter.

“We left executive session with the idea that we’d have a unanimous vote, but the two ladies on the end of the council table decided to get their good image with their followers and voted no,” he says.

   Harness noted that the money for the settlement comes from the city’s liability company, and does not require the usage of any city funds.

Court records do not indicate Clough has filed any type of lawsuit in Greene County against the City of Carrollton or any city official.