Embattled Muscatine Mayor one step closer to being kicked out of office

MUSCATINE, Iowa - The Muscatine city council is moving forward with a hearing to remove Mayor Diana Broderson.

During the council's Thursday, March 9 2017 meeting, members unanimously voted to move forward with a hearing to remove Mayor Broderson. The decision adds to months of conflict between the mayor and city council.

Formal charges filed accuse the mayor of violating the city's code of ethics and abusing her power.  A statement of charges filed Friday, Feb. 17, by city attorney, Matthew Brick alleges that Mayor Diana Broderson's actions have created unnecessary legal and staff costs and potential liability.

One of the accusations in the complaint refers to an April 2016 city council meeting and says Broderson "announced she was creating a special task force to investigate the city's form of government, which is not within her powers as mayor, and did so without authority or authorization from the council."

The complaint also says Broderson lodged numerous complaints of wrongdoing against city councilors and staff that are unfounded, such as her claims of gender discrimination. It alleges she exceeded her power by communicating directly to staff rather than working through the city administrator.

"Making baseless complaints was, among other things, a violation of the City's Ethics Policy," reads the complaint.

After the announcement to move forward with a hearing, supporters of the mayor took the stand inside council chambers and asked members how much this fight is costing tax payers.
"She'd be out in November but instead you (the council) have to waste all of our taxpayer dollars on a process to remove her," said Nathan Baker, resident of Muscatine.

Others questioned the decisions of the council.

"When you are voting, are you voting for what you think or voting to be a popular cheerleader?" asked Max Coffman, resident of Muscatine.

Other members of the community have launched online petitions in support of Broderson.

The council declined to comment on the removal process.

"We have been advised by our attorney not to comment because of more to come," said alderman, Philip Fitzgerald.

The hearing to remove the mayor will be held on Thursday March 23, 2017 at City Hall at 8 a.m.
Mayor Broderson was elected in november of 2015 and took office January 2016. Her term is set to expire at the end of 2017.