By Bill Short
The Millington School Board voted last week to ask Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich to “institute an ouster action” against member Ronnie Mackin.
The board took the action during its Jan. 9 meeting on a motion offered by Chairman C. J. Haley and seconded by Cody Childress. The motion was passed by six affirmative votes, with Mackin absent.
In a letter to Weirich signed by Haley, school board attorney Steve Shields stated that Tennessee Code Annotated Section 49-2-202 requires every board member to take an oath to “faithfully discharge” the duties of the office.
Shields stated that, although it is a “significant duty” required by state law, a member should be expected “solely on ethical grounds” to attend regular board meetings. And he noted that the $400 monthly compensation for a Millington member’s service adds “monetary consideration” to that expectation.
The letter stated that Mackin missed the board’s regularly scheduled meetings for September – December 2017, as well as this month. But he did not attempt to contact the chairman or “provide any excuse” for those absences.
Shields stated that Mackin has shown an “indifference” and “unwillingness” to perform his obligations as a board member, while continuing to receive monthly pay provided by Millington’s taxpayers.
During discussion shortly before the vote, Larry Jackson asked whether the board had “actually reached out” to Mackin to “see what his plans are.”
While acknowledging that she had not “personally” reached out, Haley noted that Mackin had not responded to any of the e-mails she had sent to the board “for different things.”
Mark Coulter recommended that the board contact the city, which could have received some information from Mackin. But Childress said the school system had not heard anything from the city.
“If something shows up in their office this week, then we wouldn’t need this,” Childress said. “And that’s what I would prefer.”
Chris Denson said the board should inquire about Mackin’s “intention” and give him an opportunity to resign. If he declined to do so, then the board could send the letter.
But Childress said Mackin had announced on social media that he will open an insurance agency on Feb. 1 in Sevierville.
“He’s made no bones about it,” he acknowledged. “It’s just that he’s not here. He hasn’t been here.”
Childress, who was the board’s previous chairman, said he tried to get Mackin to resign at the end of November, so the Board of Mayor and Aldermen could declare his seat “vacant” and temporarily appoint someone to the position by New Year’s Day.
“But he wasn’t going to have any part of that,” Childress recalled. “So, I have no qualms about going forward with this. I think he’s had ample time to do the right thing.”
Roger Christopher said the board would try to “do the right thing” by Mackin.
“But I just feel like, after missing so many meetings,” he noted, “it’s his responsibility to let us know what’s going on with him and not keep us guessing.”
Childress said the board “owes it” to the city’s residents to be “pro-active” on this issue.
“I think we actually sat on it longer than we should have,” he concluded. “I think the time has come that, if there’s no action from his end, there’s going to have to be action from our side.”