Although neither Mack nor Harris could be reached for comment last week on the council’s vote to terminate their services with the city, their suit, according to Forest Park Mayor David Lockhart, challenges the right of the Forest Park City Council to do so.
At its May 27 meeting, the Forest Park City Council voted to terminate the services of Mack & Harris, PC, by a 3-1 vote.
Council members Maudie McCord, Tommy Smith and Latresa Akins favored the motion while Councilwoman and Mayor Pro-Tem Linda Lord cast the lone dissenting vote.
Lockhart said Mack and Harris have filed suit on the basis that they are officials of the city as prescribed under its city charter, and are entitled to a hearing with regard to the council’s decision to terminate their services.
“It is their position they can only be dismissed for any of a number of specific reasons as prescribed in our city charter,” Lockhart said.
However, the mayor said he supported the council’s decision to terminate the law firm and believes the fact that Mack & Harris filed a suit against the city on the issue “leads me to believe the council made the right decision.”
As the council considered the issue during the meeting, Lockhart asked council members if any of them would like to address the issue.
However, no one immediately took the opportunity to speak, Lockhart said.
Lord then spoke, believing a discussion of the termination was in order.
Lockhart said later that, as mayor and the city’s chief executive, he had not worked with Mack & Harris long, but the city council had.
Lockhart won a special mayoral election April 16 over former Councilwoman Sparkle Adams and was sworn in May 6, replacing former Forest Park Mayor Corine Deyton who resigned last October for health reasons.
An attorney himself, Lockhart added he could not recall ever hearing any detrimental comments concerning the law firm of Mack & Harris.
“Among those in the bar association, I have heard nothing but good, positive things about Joe Harris,” Lockhart said.
“He has an excellent reputation among members of the bar association,” the mayor added.
“In fact, the attorneys I know and trust say nothing but good things about Mr. Harris.”
The mayor added this issue has to do with what is best for the city.