Hearing set for the mayor

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The Muscatine City Council voted unanimously at Thursday evening’s meeting to schedule the hearing regarding the removal of Mayor Diana Broderson.

The hearing has been scheduled for 8:00 a.m. on March 23. At the time of the hearing, evidence will be presented to support the claim that the Mayor has been deficient in the completion of the duties of her office.

Listed in the city code are the reasons a mayor may be removed from office. They state:

“The Mayor may be removed from office by action of the City  Council for any of the following reasons:

  1. For willful or habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of his or her office.
  2. For willful misconduct or maladministration in office.
  3. For corruption.
  4. For extortion.
  5. Upon conviction of a felony.
  6. For intoxication, or upon conviction of being intoxicated, or for possession of any illegal substances.
  7. Upon conviction of violating the provisions of Chapter 6 8 A , Code of Iowa.

Such removal shall be only after a hearing before the City Council based on written charges prepared and filed by the City Attorney, which removal can only be made by a two-third vote of the entire Council. Notice of such hearing shall be by personal service on the Mayor whose removal is being sought not less than ten (10) days before the date of such hearing.”

At the hearing, the Mayor and her attorney, William J. Sueppel of Meardon, Sueppel & Downer P.L.C., will have the opportunity to present any evidence as to how Mayor Broderson acted accordingly and within the requirements of her position.

Two Muscatine residents voiced opinions on the hearing being set. Max Kauffman questioned the council as to how much money the removal process and the hiring of a special prosecutor will cost the Muscatine taxpayers.

Nathan Baker commented to the council that he believed that the mayor would have lost if left to continue to the November election. “There is a petition out there that over 800 people have signed, wanting you removed, all of you,” Baker explains. “Not a single one of you received 800 votes.”

“There are hundreds out there who say they will vote against you, for this process,” Baker continued, calling the removal process “morally wrong.”

Councilman at Large Santos Saucedo responded to Baker, saying, “I am not here for a popularity contest.  I am here to serve my community. I came here to serve as City Council at Large.”

Suacedo continued, asking Baker, “Have you ever had to stand up for something that you knew, even when others were saying to stop? If I stand up for what I believe, I’m okay, but I have to stand up for what I believe.”

After Baker stepped down from the podium, Councilman Bynum called a “Point of Order” and commented that according to Robert’s Rules of Order, the discussion on a topic must be limited to three minutes, to which Mayor Broderson responded, “The Mayor had discretion.”

No other residents stepped forward to offer comment, and the vote was held.