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Chamber granted continuance with Sneed lawsuit

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Clay Sneed, representing himself on the left, in front of Robertson County General Sessions Judge Joel Perry. Attorney Jay Johnson, representing the Chamber of Commerce's attorney Jonathan Garner, who was out of town. CHERI REEVES

The attorney representing the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce has been granted a continuance until Oct. 5 in the civil action filed by Springfield Alderman Clay Sneed.

On Thursday, Aug. 10, Robertson County General Sessions Court Judge Joel Perry granted the continuance at the request of attorney Jonathan Garner, who was out of town.

Springfield attorney Jay Johnson spoke on Garner's behalf.

Sneed filed the suit in an effort to obtain financial records from the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce.

In the civil summons filed against the chamber in July, Sneed described a "Refusal to provide the 'books and accounts' as prescribed (are) 'available to the membership' per the Chamber of Commerce By-Laws, article 8, section 6 for the reason it is the possession of the accountant."

In the by-laws of the chamber, the noted section reads:

SECTION 6. The Executive Committee shall cause to be reviewed annually the books and accounts of the Chamber at the close of business for the fiscal year, and report its findings to the Board of Directors and make the same available to the membership. All recommendations for expenditures outside the budget shall be submitted to the Executive Committee whose recommendations shall be submitted to the Board.

The document submitted to the court did not specify the information Sneed had requested.

The Robertson County Chamber of Commerce had an overall income of $462,705 in Fiscal Year 2016-17, according to its annual unaudited financial statement. Expenditures were reported at $459,730.

The chamber receives $16,000 annually from the City of Springfield.

At the Tuesday, June 20 meeting of the Springfield Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Sneed moved to defund the chamber during the second reading to finalize the city budget. His motion died for the lack of a second motion.

In response to July's action filed, Sneed said then, "I hate that it had to come to this, but the members and taxpayers will know exactly how their money is being used and I hope it's a lesson to other agencies and organizations who think they don't have to answer to the public or their dues paying members."

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