Teton County and an attorney for a volunteer library board member who county commissioners removed after meeting behind closed doors are discussing ways to resolve a legal standoff without a lawsuit.
“Whether there are [ways] or not is questionable,” Cheyenne attorney Bruce Moats told the Jackson Hole Daily.
Moats specializes in protecting public access to government and has represented the Jackson Hole News&Guide in cases regarding open meetings and public records. He is now representing Dail Barbour, a volunteer Teton County Library board member sacked Nov. 9 by the Teton County Board of County Commissioners.
Moats sent a letter to the county board on Dec. 11 alleging that elected officials broke the law by removing Barbour without notifying her of complaints brought against her. He requested that the board reinstate Barbour, saying she was open to a public hearing to make her case, and gave commissioners until noon Wednesday to respond.
Otherwise, Moats suggested that legal action was on the table, though Barbour told the News&Guide on Monday that she would prefer to resolve the issue without resorting to the courts.
In an interview Wednesday evening, Moats said he was “in some discussions with the county.”
Moats wasn’t sure where, exactly, those conversations were heading, but he said he and county attorneys were trying to figure out if there are ways to resolve the issue without going to court, given that the commissioners’ decision to remove Barbour is standing for now.
Teton County Attorney Erin Weisman declined to comment.
Action would need to happen quickly, because commissioners continue to advertise for Barbour’s now-vacant seat, with a Dec. 23 application deadline.
Barbour’s removal was requested by members of the library board, who alleged that she created a “toxic” environment. But Barbour said that didn’t happen and that proof is on the public record, which she doesn’t think anyone has reviewed.