Charter Enforcement Commision recommends dropping complaint against Ellisville mayor
By: Diane E. Samson
Ellisville Mayor Adam Paul walked out of city hall Monday evening to a crowd of supporters cheering the Charter Enforcement Commission’s decision to recommend the complaint against Paul be dismissed.
“I’m very relieved. It’s been a long week,” Paul said. “This is definitely something I want to move past as quickly as possible.”
The Monday meeting was a preliminary hearing to make a recommendation to the City Council whether to dismiss the complaint against Paul or to proceed to a hearing on the case.
Last week Ellisville resident Katie James filed a complaint against the mayor that he violated the city charter by ordering police to remove residents from public meetings in two instances. According to the charter, violating the city charter could be possible grounds to remove Paul from office.
Paul said he respects the right of any resident to file a complaint, but that he and the person who filed this complaint had been on opposite sides of the Walmart TIF debate.
“It’s in the city’s best interest to move forward,” Paul said. “You have to rebound from this and ultimately unite as a city and move forward.”
The Commission voted to recommend dismissal of the complaint, but not before Paul’s attorney, Lynette Petruska, spoke in his defense, asking for due process for Paul to be considered and calling at one point the proceedings a “kangaroo court” and a “witch hunt.”
Ellisville City Attorney Paul Martin told Petruska she was disrupting the meeting and eventually asked the Police Chief, Tom Felgate, to escort Petruska from the meeting, which he did.
Martin explained that if the process moved forward into a hearing, at that time, Paul would have the right to his defense and due process of the law, including testimony as well as public comments.
“I understand that there are some feelings that this process is politically motivated and I understand that some folks might want to speak about it,” said Martin. “But the process does not allow it (at this time).”
Petruska later said she was pleased with the Commission’s decision, but that she and Paul were taking the complaint seriously, especially considering the tension in the community over the Walmart debate.
Ultimately, the Council will have the final say on the matter Wednesday as they look at the Commission’s recommendation.
Mayor Paul had many supporters in the audience, including resident Mick Cahill who is running for a seat on the City Council in District 2 in April.
“I’m glad Adam can go home tonight and get some rest,” said Cahill. “The Council needs to work together and take care of the city.”
Cahill also commented that Paul was duly elected and deserves the respect of the Council members.