Missouri Mayor Fails to Stop Impeachment Proceedings

City Council Seeks to Remove Mayor Over Walmart, Alcohol

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Mayor Adam Paul of Ellisville, Mo., may be in office less than a year thanks to a city council who feels his behavior warrants impeachment.

KMOX reports that impeachment hearings happen March 20 after the city council unanimously approved moving forward at a special meeting Wednesday night. Allegations against Paul include bringing alcohol to city meetings and sharing results of closed-door city council meetings with others.

* If the mayor is impeached, the elected official would be kicked out of office less than a year into a three-year term. The adoption of the resolution Wednesday temporarily suspends the mayor for 45 days.

* The 11-page resolution claims Paul violated city code and several articles of the city charter since his election in the spring of 2012. More than two dozen instances are noted. Charges range from exceeding the mayor's authority, going against the wishes of the city council and having undue influence over city officials such as the city clerk.

* KMOX also states Paul is accused of drinking at meetings. In response to the council's actions, member Matt Pirrello told the television station, "We have an opportunity to bring the city back together and get things moving again."

* Paul took his case to St. Louis County Circuit Court on the same day the city council voted to move forward with impeachment hearings. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reveals Judge Brenda Stith Loftin ruled in favor of the city council's right to determine its own destiny.

* Loftin listened to oral arguments for 30 minutes and sided with Ellisville City Attorney Paul Martin's assertion that the judge didn't know the city's charter well enough to stop the impeachment.

* The Ellisville City Charter asserts the mayor can be removed from office if he or she "lacks any qualification for the office... violates any express prohibition of [the] charter... is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude... is in default to the city... or fails to attend three consecutive regular meetings of the city council without being excused by the council."

* A majority vote is needed to conduct investigations into the affairs of the city. The same vote is needed to remove a member of the council from office after hearings are held within 30 days of such proceedings being agreed to. Affected members of the council may not vote on removal proceedings.

* Part of the dispute between the mayor and city council members revolves around the plans for Wal-Mart to build a supercenter in the area, according to the Post-Dispatch . Resident Thomas Debold sued the city in early November to block construction of the planned 155,000 square-foot facility. Judge David Lee Vincent III ruled Tuesday that city officials acted properly when issuing permit and that Debold had not exhausted all attempts to appeal the city's decision.

* KTVI states the $49 million project uses one half of the city's sale taxes for site improvements.

* Chet Pleban, the mayor's attorney, called the impeachment a "witch hunt." The attorney also told KMOX the impeachment stems from clearing out opposition to Wal-Mart's proposals as more votes loom in April.

* Paul was elected April 3, 2012, with 667 votes. He beat out Michelle Murray, currently on the city council, by 249 votes. Third candidate Dawn Anglin received 222 votes and city resident Robert Strote earned 198 votes. According to Patch.com, Paul earned 44 percent of the overall vote.

* Ellisville is a city of 9,131 people dozens of miles west of St. Louis. Paul works as manager for Amdocs in Chesterfield, Mo.

William Browning is a research librarian specializing in U.S. politics.

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