Pevely has fired its city attorney for the second time in a year. One of the first moves of the new board of aldermen was to remove Melissa Vighi, whose firm, Lashly & Baer, was hired after longtime city attorney David Korum was fired in June. The board intended to keep Lashly & Baer, but have a different attorney represent the city, but the firm subsequently fired Pevely. Therefore, the city had to appoint an acting attorney, Tom Duggan.
When Korum was fired by the previous board, the deed was done in open session. While perhaps unusual, it was appropriate, because the job is an appointed one and so the normal employee privacy concerns need not apply. Or, even if the actual firing is done behind closed doors, the reasons should be given, because the public deserves to know them.
That, however, is not what happened in this case. No word has been given as to why Vighi did not meet the board’s standards. Therefore, we cannot judge whether or not this was a good move. We can only speculate and assume. The same thing happened when city administrator Terry Thomas was (briefly) relieved of duty. Only vague explanations as to why that was done were given.
Governments should always lean towards more transparency. Pevely does not do this in terms of expenditures, meeting minutes, or decisions like this one. Pevely’s disarray and discontent will start to decrease when it starts acting in a more open matter. Actions like the removal of the city attorney have the opposite effect.