RAWLINS – The lawsuit between Rose Cain and the City of Rawlins over a possible illegal decision made during their April 17, 2017 meeting may be winding down.
In Carbon County District Court on Friday, Bruce Moats, representing Cain, and Craig Silva, representing Rawlins, argued for Judge Dawnessa Snyder to grant a motion for a summary judgment.
Both parties agreed the court has more than enough evidence to rule on the case, though the main disagreement comes from how Judge Snyder should rule, and whether the Rawlins City Council committed a Public Meetings Act violation during their April 2017 executive session.
According to Moats, Hannum sent an email to Wyoming Waste Services stating they were not in compliance with city code, which requires an office within the city of Rawlins.
According to court documents, Hannum sent Wyoming Waste Services another email after the now infamous executive session, stating they were in compliance.
Moats argued this shows a decision was made in executive session, a decision of inaction, which changed Hannum’s initial response of noncompliance to allowing Wyoming Waste Service’s current facilities to constitute an office. Moats contended this change in tack represents a decision made during executive session to declare Wyoming Waste Services complaint with city code.
“We want to hear why the city changed their mind,” said Moats.
Moats further argued the lack of discussion made during the council’s consideration of the issue in public also made their eventual decision, agreeing with their alleged executive session decision, void.
“I still submit there was no opportunity for discussion,” said Moats. “It’s so routine to say ‘discussion’ and only mean council members.”
Moats contended the eventual discussion by the public did not represent true discussion on the issue, as it occurred after the issue had already been voted on.
“It’s leading up to (the vote) where (discussion) is supposed to happen,” said Moats.
Rawlins’ attorney, Silva, argued the first email sent by Hannum did not accuse Wyoming Waste Service of noncompliance, rather the email was the beginning of investigating whether the complaint lodged by Rose Cain had merit.
Silva stated Hannum, therefore, did not change his mind, as his initial communication was only meant to probe the details of Wyoming Waste Services’ facilities in Rawlins.
Silva contended that all the rules have been followed with the council’s decision being ratified during a public meeting.
Silva further argued the lack of discussion at the time is not the fault of the council.
“Not only was Miss Cain there; her supporters were there, and they did nothing,” said Silva. “How much opportunity do they need?”
Silva went onto say the citizens of Rawlins routinely interrupt city council to say their peace, stating the later discussion of the issue after votes had already been cast evidenced this.
“You can’t hold us to the title of the agenda and not hold them to it,” said Silva.
Silva concluded by saying the executive session minutes have been released, the issue in question was discussed and ruled on in the public eye, with ample opportunity for discussion.
Silva concluded by asking what decision was there to overturn during the April 2017 executive session, as no decision was made and no course of action was taken.
While both parties agreed the judge had more than enough evidence to rule on whether the Public Meeting Act had been violated by an illegal decision, Moats requested additional time to discover if even more violations occurred during the executive session.
Moats’ request resulted from the executive session meeting minutes listing franchising the Rawlins Landfill on the agenda.
“There is no exception that would cover franchise discussion (in executive session),” said Moats.
Moats stated he wanted to further question Hannum under oath to determine what happened during these discussions in order to determine whether additional Public Meeting Act violations occurred.
Judge Snyder questioned why he did not request this after the meeting minutes were initially released in December.
Silva defended Moats, stating he would have filled to have the meetings once more sealed, denying Moats their use for the lawsuit until after further litigation.
While Silva defended Moats’ patience in his request, he immediately began attacking Moats’ right to further probe the April 2017 executive session, describing further deposition as simple harassment.
“They don’t get to know those things,” Silva further said. “He’s trying to harass us with deposition.
No decision has yet been made by Judge Snyder, and no timeline has been given for one.