Muscatine City Attorney says “charges might not be filed for weeks” in Mayor removal request
MUSCATINE, Iowa – After the Muscatine City Council voted to start the process in removing its mayor, charges against Mayor Diana Broderson have still not been filed as of Tuesday, January 24 2017.
Charges against Mayor Diana Broderson’s were expected to be made public Friday, January 20, 2017. Now, Muscatine City Attorney, Matthew Brick says “charges may not be filed for weeks.” Exactly what those charges are is still unclear.
Mayor Broderson says her and the council have had months of bad blood. Broderson reportedly filed complaints against city staff requesting an audit of financial information from the state auditor’s office.
The city says Broderson’s claims cost the city more than $100,000 dollars in legal fees to fight her claims.
During a city council meeting on Thursday, January 12 2017, The Muscatine City Council unanimously voted to start the process in removing Mayor Brodersen. Members gave the City Attorney the green light to file charges to remove Broderson from her mayoral seat. At the time, Council members did not give a reason for their request.
Back in the fall of 2016, the council voted in a new ordinance to strip the mayor’s appointing powers, which appoint elected officials and key positions.
“I came in with an agenda that they were not pleased with which was to create more diversity on our boards and commissions,” said Brodersen.
Broderson believes the move was because the city council didn’t agree with whom she chose to appoint. “It shouldn’t be all big business people running our community. There are more of us than there are them. I come from working last family and I just feel like we should all have a say,” added Broderson.
The council says they stripped her of appointing powers because she didn’t run her decisions by members.
Broderson says she still doesn’t know all the allegations brought against her. “I’m expecting them to say I did or said something and throw all kinds of petty things in of what they’ve tried to garner throughout the year.”
She also says the council and city attorney owe it to her and the people of Muscatine to release its findings. “I’m very concerned about how much of the tax payer’s money they’ve been spending all year to fight against me. People work hard for their money and don’t want it spent frivolously,” added Broderson.
City Attorney Matthew Brick says he “hasn’t seen many cases in Iowa where removal charges are being handled by the city council.” Brick says he’s working on a clear process so both parties can present fair arguments.
If no evidence under state law is found for removing the mayor the findings will then go to the council. If charges are filed, a hearing date will be set 10 days after the mayor receives the notice.
Iowa state law says the council can remove elected officials with a two-thirds vote.
As of Tuesday, January 24, 2017, Broderson is still in office.