Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Former Andrews Police Chief Jennifer Flowers is accusing the town of violating the Freedom of Information Act by withholding requested documents.
Flowers served as the Andrews Police chief from August 2010 until she was fired in October 2012.
Since her termination, Flowers has been attempting to obtain documentation from the town but the requests have fallen on deaf ears, according to a complaint filed in Circuit Court.
Flowers’ attorney, Robert Maring, calls the refusal to supply the requested documents “appalling.”
According to the complaint, Flowers submitted a written request on Oct. 23 for access to records that are considered public documents under the Freedom of Information Act.
The town “has failed to make the materials available to [Flowers] and has failed to comply with the Act,” the court papers state. “A violation of the Act must be considered to be an irreparable injury for which no adequate remedy of law exists.”
Flowers is asking the court to order the requested information be provided. She is also asking the town be required to pay her attorney fees and court costs.
Andrews Mayor Rodney Giles said Thursday the town’s attorney, Johnny Driggers, recently resigned and his replacement has not yet been named. Otherwise, Giles said, the town has no comment on the accusations.
Maring said the reason for the request was to try to find out why Flowers was terminated.
“We do not feel her termination was proper,” he said.
He said a grievance has been filed in accordance with the town’s employment policy but the town “has been unresponsive” on that filing as well.
“It is appalling a municipality would fail to respond to a Freedom of Information request. It’s state law. We are not asking for anything that is privileged. We are entitled to the material,” Maring said. “It is beneficial to our case against the town.”
When asked how long it will take before a judge hears the request, Maring said he is unsure.
“I have never had to file one of these,” Maring said, explaining he has never had a government body deny an FOIA request.
By Scott Harper
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