Fines, future of Portsmouth city auditor voted on Tuesday night

Posted at 8:11 PM, Mar 08, 2016

Portsmouth, Va. - Councilman Bill Moody's motion to change the rule in which council members can be fined for speaking publicly about closed session matters failed with a 3-3 vote.

In September, city council members approved changing city council rules to read, "Any council member or person violating the confidentiality of a closed session or using a recording device during a closed session shall be subject to censure, a fine of not less than $1, 500 and/or reprimand by a majority vote of the City Council."

Moody, Councilman Danny Meeks, and Vice Mayor Elizabeth Psimas voted against the change. "If this doesn't get repealed, the damage its going to cause you four is not going to be fun and games," Meeks said.

Back in January, Moody said he was fined $1, 500 at a council's meeting.  He said he was fined for posting on Facebook about a discussion about the city's Confederate monument. The discussion happened during a closed session meeting in December. Moody told NewsChannel 3 he was appalled when he received the letter advising him of the fine that he says read it was because he was "misbehaving."

Moody told NewsChannel 3 he paid the fine in cash but feels like this is a violation of his constitutional rights and wants to look at the legality of the punishment.

In more political maneuvering at the meeting, Psimas introduced a motion to fire the city's auditor, but the motion failed.