A special meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 22, to discuss firing City Attorney Steve Morris was canceled because the process server did not give him proper notice of the meeting, despite initially saying he did.
On Sept. 17, the city clerk’s office posted an agenda for the meeting, scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday. A day later, Mayor Kiernan McManus issued a memo to City Clerk Lorene Krumm, which said the meeting had been canceled.
“The Sept. 22, 2020, special meeting was scheduled with the understanding that Mr. Morris was personally served with notice of the agenda, which included discussion of his employment contract,” he wrote. “Additional information has been received regarding the service of Mr. Morris since then, including a retraction of the process server’s affidavit of service. In light of the additional information that has been received, please post a cancellation of the meeting.”
According to the revoked affidavit, Sean Keseday of Nationwide Legal Nevada said that at 7:49 p.m. Sept. 15, he “personally” delivered a letter to Morris at a home on Shirley Lane, notifying him of the meeting.
Morris, however, said he was out of state at that time.
“If service was effectuated on an individual at the foregoing address on the date and time indicated, it was definitively not Mr. Morris,” wrote his attorney Richard C. Gordon in a letter to attorney Joshua Gilmore, a member of the city’s counsel through Bailey Kennedy. “Mr. Morris was working remotely out of state for the entirety of September 15, 2020 — quarantining following a positive COVID-19 exposure. Furthermore, there are multiple security cameras at the property … none of which show any activity … on the date and time when service was purportedly effectuated.”
Gordon also wrote that after reviewing the security footage, Keseday confirmed that to his office and said the person he “served got out of a black Chevy Silverado truck,” which is not a type of vehicle owned or leased by the Morris family. He also confirmed the person served did not “identify himself as Mr. Steve Morris or confirm that that was his name.”
The affidavit included a description of the person he left the notice with. The person was a Caucasian man, 51-55 years in age, weighing 181-200 pounds and with brown hair and brown eyes. The man was also described as being between 6 feet 1 inch and 6 feet 6 inches in height.
According to the letter from Gordon, the age, weight, hair and eye color do not match a description of Morris.
Morris said his attorney has been notified twice about different special meetings expected to be scheduled.
“What is interesting about this ongoing retaliatory effort is that the mayor’s attorney informed my attorney on Monday, September 14, that the mayor would be scheduling a special meeting on October 13, 2020, with service on the interested parties via certified mail. … Notwithstanding, the mayor and councilwoman (Tracy) Folda attempted to have me served personally on the 15th for a special meeting on the 22nd of September. The September 15th affidavit was the one revoked because it was incorrect,” he said.
Morris also said the mayor and Folda “continue to harass” him and his family while he is working “remotely pursuant to city policy due to COVID exposure.”
The agenda for the canceled Sept. 22 meeting included an action item about Morris and his employment with the city. The item was requested by Folda and was “to consider the character, alleged misconduct, professional competence or physical or mental health” of Morris as provided in Nevada Revised Statute 241 as well as discussing Morris’ alleged actions “in providing misleading information to one or more members of the City Council with respect to the right of a majority of the City Council to retain special counsel” and “to one or more members of the City Council concerning the application of provisions of NRS 281” to Morris as a public official.
The council members would also discuss terminating Morris’ contract and appointing a replacement.
This meeting was the second called to discuss firing Morris. The first was set for Aug. 6 but it was canceled after Morris and City Manager Al Noyola filed for a temporary restraining order in District Court because their notifications about the meeting violated the open meeting law and that the possible firings were in retaliation for their testimony in an internal investigation of complaints filed against the mayor.
A special meeting for Oct. 13 has yet to be announced.
Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at email@example.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.