Ellisville Council to consider removing mayor from office
By: Diane E. Samson
The Ellisville City Council will meet at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27 in a special meeting to vote on the preliminary resolution for the removal of Mayor Adam Paul.
If the resolution passes, Paul will be suspended from office for not more than 45 days while the Council considers whether the charges against the mayor are worthy to remove him from office.
The resolution, drafted by City Attorney Paul Martin, charges that Paul has committed various acts in violation of the city’s charter and the Council’s established rules and practices.
Among others, charges include Paul of:
• Unlawfully disclosing confidences of the city, including a legal opinion from Martin concerning the legality of a citizen-initiated referendum on the Walmart tax increment financing (TIF) ordinance, other legal opinions from Martin, as well as confidential personnel discussions of the City Council.
• Attempting to replace the city attorney without the Council’s knowledge or approval
• Giving direction to the city manager and city clerk in violation of the city charter
• Asking the city manager to use the city’s message boards to advertise certain private events.
• Using profanity and drinking alcohol while at public and private meetings.
• Causing a disturbance via his attorney at the Charter Enforcement Commission, in which his attorney had to be removed from the proceedings by a police officer.
The resolution mentions the complaint by Ellisville resident Katie James in which she alleged that Paul issued a direct order to a police officer to have her removed from a public meeting, as well as another incident on Feb. 6, in which Paul asked for a citizen to be removed from a Council meeting. In the complaint, James alleged that giving direct orders to police officers violates the city charter.
While the Council previously voted to dismiss James’ complaint, the resolution to remove Paul calls his actions, “conduct unbecoming and demeaning to the office of the mayor of the City of Ellisville.”
In addition, the resolution mentions in several references that the working relationships of the mayor, councilmembers, city clerk, city attorney and staff have become dysfunctional due to Paul’s actions.
If the process moves forward on Feb. 27, the Council will hold a public hearing sometime in March to consider the charges and determine whether Paul has forfeited his office.
Also on Feb. 27, the Council will propose hiring attorney Keith Cheung to be special prosecutor in the case and is asking the law firm of Curtis, Heinz, Garrett and O’Keefe to serve as special counsel since Martin would have a conflict of interest in the case.
In addition, the Council will also propose retaining the law firm of Eckenrode and Maupin to advise the Council during the proceedings. John Maupin will serve as hearing officer during the removal proceedings.
If retained, the city will pay both firms $200 per hour, plus necessary expenses for their services.