CLARKSVILLE, TN (CLARKSVILLE NOW) – Ward 1 City Council member and Pro Mayor Tem Richard Garrett resigned his seat Thursday evening shortly after the district attorney’s office filed two lawsuits against him for living in outside of his neighborhood.
The state of Tennessee, through District Attorney General John Carney’s office, has filed two civil lawsuits against Garrett, a quo warranto lawsuit and an eviction lawsuit. Both lawsuits are civil in nature and no criminal charges have been laid.
“I have worked hard over the past seven years to live up to the expectations of the voters when they elected me as a city councilor and my peers when they appointed me acting mayor (vice-mayor). This is why it is with great difficulty that I announce my resignation, effective immediately, July 22, 2021, ”said Garrett in an email Thursday to Carney obtained by Clarksville Now.
Garrett bought a house outside of the city limits in the Stone’s Manor subdivision in early 2020, but he has kept on some documents his old address in Ward 1, which he still owns.
Ward 1 borders the Kentucky state border and straddles Fort Campbell Boulevard, stretching from the interior of Fort Campbell to Allen Road in the east.
In previous responses, Garrett argued that his principal residence as defined by the Charter of the City of Clarksville remains in Ward 1; however, Garrett said in his letter to Carney that he had left his ward.
He also states in the letter that he had offered to resign in May 2020 but that he was “advised to continue serving in my capacity as I still met some of the criteria allowing me to continue to perform my duties with concentration. and the dedication of the residents of Ward 1 deserved.
Who advised Garrett to keep his seat is not specified in the email.
The issue of Garrett’s primary residence has been under discussion for over a year, with some board members criticizing Garrett for remaining in his seat. Others have tabled resolutions regarding the residency of city councilors, referring to the Garrett investigation.
Garrett in his email decried “those who would use this common practice of divergent life that occurs often enough in our local governments to specifically target me.”
“I am reassured to know that none of my constituents in Ward 1 found a problem with me continuing to represent their best interests and continued to contact me to resolve their issues. I look forward to applying all the lessons learned to City Council and serving as the County of Clarksville-Montgomery Regional Planning Commissioner to assist me in my future endeavors and wish the city the best, ”said Garrett.
Clarksville Now has reached out to Garrett for further comment.