Councilman Harry Silver speaks out after suing City of Alexandria, Council President
We are hearing from Alexandria City Councilman Harry Silver for the first time after he sued the city and council president for allegedly violating the American Disabilities and Rehabilitation Act.
Silver, who is 98 years old, sat down with us Friday night to speak on the matter.
The councilman tells us neither the city nor Council President Jules Green provided accommodations to enable him to attend council meetings via phone when he asked back on February 18.
Silver hasn't been able to attend the council since February 4 because of a broken elbow. He also hasn't been able to make any meetings in March and April due to the pandemic.
In the lawsuit, Silver states he wrote to City Attorney David Williams saying he's medically unable to attend.
The lawsuit then goes on to say Williams wrote to Councilman Green saying Silver should be allowed to attend via telephone.
In new documentation received Friday, Green sent a letter to David Williams back on May 19, mentioning Silver's absences and says, "It may be in order for the unexcused meetings that the salaries are returned to the city of Alexandria."
Silver says the defendants have made no attempts to meet with him on the matter.
The councilman tells us he's suing because he feels that everyone should be equally protected and represented under the law, and he's looking for ways to attend council meetings, even from home.
"I think it's a local matter that was poorly handled in the city only from the standpoint of what we should or should not do," said Silver. "I have no ax to grind with anybody. I just want to be fair, and I want us to take care of everybody else as well as what we've done."
Silver says he still talks to his constituents and is working on a daily basis.
We reached out to Green. He says he won't comment until he sees legal documentation.
The federal public records system says summons were issued to the city and Green on Wednesday.
We reached out to the city who has sent us all of the correspondences between the city and council in this matter.
This Tuesday the council has placed a request on the agenda to allow any council member ordered by a medical doctor to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.