Investigation opened after ethics complaint levied against alderman | Collierville Independent


The Board of Mayor and Aldermen has voted to have the town attorney investigate an ethics violation complaint levied against Alderman Billy Patton.

Aldermen Maureen Fraser, Jimmy Lott and John Worley, along with Mayor Stan Joyner, voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon during a meeting called specifically to address the complaint.

Patton and Alderman Tom Allen were not present for the meeting.

Town Administrator James Lewellen told the board that an envelope was left at the front desk of Town Hall on Oct. 16. The envelope, which had Lewellen’s name on the front, contained campaign literature and one of Patton’s town business cards, which included an image of Collierville’s town seal.

Lewellen said the finding prompted him to speak with Patton about the use of the town’s seal for private purposes and file a report with the town’s board.

Lewellen told the board that the code of ethical conduct for officials of the town states that no official “shall receive or use for personal purposes any property, services or funds of the town of Collierville.”

“The seal is a registered trademark of the town,” Lewellen said. “In the past, the designation had been that it is a use of town property for personal purposes when involved in campaign literature.

“The point of this meeting today is for the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to determine whether there is merit and whether or not an investigation is required,” he continued.

When asked how long it would take him to conduct the investigation, Town Attorney Nathan Bicks said he would need adequate time to talk with Patton.

Board members set a hearing date for 3 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Fraser said she had hoped Patton would be present at Tuesday’s meeting.

“It is hard to ask questions with him not being here,” she said.

Fraser asked Bicks what would happen if Patton chose not to attend the hearing.

“He is entitled to participate and to present whatever information he’d like you to consider,” he said. “If he chooses not to, you would be required to act based on the record that would be before you at the time.”