The Metro Council Tuesday night opted against calling for the resignation of embattled Davidson County Clerk John Arriola, voting to defer legislation that would have requested this outcome.
With Tuesday’s session marking the final meeting of the now-past council, a newly elected crop of council representatives would need to reintroduce a new bill at a later time if they want to push such a measure again.
“It’s obvious this council does not want to address this particular issue at this time,” said Councilman Robert Duvall, who introduced the legislation following revelations that Arriola had allegedly pocketed extra $40 fees charged to couples he married.
Several council members considered Duvall’s resolution — which carried no direct policy effect — as unnecessary. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is already looking into Arriola’s actions at the request of District Attorney Torry Johnson.
Arriola — along with family members and legal counsel — was on hand to watch the council proceedings.
“I’m encouraged by [the deferral],” said attorney George Barrett, who is representing Arriola. “There’s a formal investigation going on. That should be allowed to run its course.”
In other items:
• The Metro Council voted 23-10 to approve a non-binding memorializing resolution to honor local high school students who protested the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill during the state legislative session.
The resolution, sponsored by Councilman Jamie Hollin, came six weeks after a similar measure failed at the behest of two conservative colleagues, igniting a verbal tirade from Hollin.
• The council voted 26-9 to approve a non-binding memorializing resolution sponsored by Councilwoman Kristine LaLonde that requests the Metro Department of Law file an amicus brief in support of an ongoing suit over the constitutionality of the state’s Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act.
The law, passed this year by the Republican-dominated state legislature, nullified Metro’s nondiscrimination law that required city contractors to provide employment protections for gay, lesbian and transgender employees.