Newly released emails shed light on Trussville city council conflict

Trussville mayoral candidate Buddy Choat [Photo courtesy of Buddy Choat]

According to emails exclusively obtained by Alabama Today, current Trussville Mayor Gene Melton and mayoral candidate and City Councilman Buddy Choat wished to delay going into an Executive Session to vote on whether or not to place on administrative leave Trussville Fire Chief Russell Ledbetter and Fire Marshal Steve Reasonover pending an internal investigation as late as Monday afternoon.

“Anthony I received a part of the information requested this morning but need additional time to compile the rest of the data,” Melton wrote in response to City Council President and mayoral candidate Anthony Montalto‘s request that the Council convene an Executive Session to make the decision behind closed doors. “I hope to be able to report back in the next couple of days with a plan and a possible solution to bring this issue to a close quickly. I respectfully ask that you not go into executive session during tomorrow night’s meeting.”

“Mayor,” Montalto replied, “I feel we need to go ahead with our decision to go into Executive Session again tomorrow night. With the information that was shared with us last Thursday, I feel the sooner we make a decision about our role, the better.”

A few minutes later Choat agreed with Mayor Melton writing, “I disagree. We need ALL of the facts and information to make any decision this important.”

When Alabama Today reached out to Councilman Choat regarding the email, he explained that he didn’t want to make the vote on whether or not to place the two city employees on administrative leave until they had enough information to make him feel comfortable taking such drastic measures.

“My opinion was, if we’re going to take action, let’s get all the information we can,” explained Choat. “I thought that in case some of that information may have disputed what we had already seen or heard, but obviously it did not. We didn’t get anything to change our minds, so it was unanimous among us to go ahead and do what we had to do.”

Choat and Montalto will face off Tuesday, Oct. 4 in a runoff bid to replace Melton as mayor of Trussville.

Alabama Today has covered this story since the Executive Session on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Follow us for more details as they break.

For the original email chain, click here: choat-email


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