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The "high dollar contract attorney" Henley referred to among the "pers" is former High Point
City Attorney Fred Baggett, who is still working for the city on a contract basis.
Smothers threw in her two cents later the same day.
"It is my understanding the direction Fred gave in regard to the deduction is consistent with City policy applied to all employees who use City property, such as IPads," she wrote. "Other than a disappointing outcome on Nov. 6, I cannot understand Mike's behavior in this matter."
The same day, Alexander emailed the other councilmembers that he authorized Boynton's secretary, Cindy Duncan-Smith, Boynton's executive assistant, to deduct the $300 for the iPad from Alexander's November paycheck.
"The written agreement stated that you would either return in good order or issue a check or payroll deduct," Alexander wrote. "I spoke with Cindy Smith about this several weeks ago and she suggested that the payroll process would be the easiest and she needed something in writing from me to authorize."
Pugh, of course, said he signed nothing in writing to authorize such a deduction from his paycheck.
Smothers, contacted on Sunday, Nov. 18, said that Pugh's position on the iPad "kind of defies any logic" and that she was sorry to see him take it. Pugh and Smothers have clashed at times, but Smother said she respects Pugh. She said, "He truly believes that he was an ambassador to his ward and those he thought were underserved."
At Monday's Finance Committee meeting, City Attorney JoAnne Carlyle confirmed that withdrawing the money from Pugh's last paycheck without permission wasn't legal.
Sims asked whether taking the $300 from Pugh's check was OK.
Carlyle said, "No, it was not." She said the $300 would be given back to Pugh and that Baggett had apologized to Pugh.
After the meeting, Pugh provided a copy of the agreement he signed when he accepted the iPad. It clearly says that Pugh can keep the iPad until his service to the city is over – translated into plain English, until Dec. 3.
Pugh had left the room by the time the issue came up at the Finance Committee meeting, but Douglas defended him on the grounds that someone had jumped the gun.
"I think all of this went prematurely," Douglas said. "Of course, if you debit someone's account, that is going to immediately get them hostile.
Carlyle told Pugh at the end of the City Council meeting later that he would get his $300 back. By that time, Pugh wanted more to punish Boynton's administration.
"I'll take $600," Pugh said. "And attorney's fees."
The net result of the Finance Committee meeting was that the councilmembers agreed that Pugh should get the $300 back, but that he still owed the city the iPad or $300.
Whether or not the city gets either will be seen on Dec. 3. Councilmember A.B. Henley said that people who don't return borrowed items get pursued by collection agencies – raising the entertaining spectre of High Point
trying to collect $300 from Pugh. Douglas has owed the city thousands of dollars from a civil judgment for years and the city has been unable to collect the money.