Muscatine city council member says mayor ‘got off on a technicality’

MUSCATINE, Iowa - Despite a judge ruling the council did something wrong when it removed Mayor Diana Broderson from office, Muscatine city council member Santos Saucedo says he has no regrets. "I did everything that I thought was right," said Saucedo.

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"She got off on a loophole, none of the charges were addressed, none of the merit of what she actually had done was addressed, so when you say you won, you didn't win anything," said Saucedo.

According to the judge, the city council's vote to impeach her was a violation of her right to due process but at large, council member Saucedo says the council followed Iowa Code.

"We followed the law, we did everything right and then this judge comes back and says we can't," said Saucedo.

Saucedo says it was actions that Mayor Broderson took, such as lodging numerous complaints of wrongdoing and claims of gender discrimination that led the council to remove her.

"If you do something that violates your position and you violate a code of ethics, you do certain things, you have to be removed," said Saucedo.

The city council contends the judge didn't say Broderson should not be removed from office, it's how she was removed that was the issue. The council held a hearing where they acted as both judge and jury, "In my opinion, you just got off on a technicality," said Saucedo.

Saucedo says he's paid a price for challenging the mayor.

"I would have never thought that when I get elected, that I'm gonna get drug through the mud, be charged with gender bias, made false accusations against, ask the county attorney if I'm gonna be arrested," said Saucedo.

City's response to District Court Decision on Council v. Broderson:

"The City of Muscatine respects the ruling of District Court Judge Mark D. Cleve. However, the judge did not rule on the merits of the case. Rather, the judge ruled that City Council had a vested interest in protecting the city from the Mayor’s actions and, as a result, Council Chambers was not the appropriate venue for the removal hearing.

City Council followed Iowa Code in all of its actions. While that section of code may be flawed, it is the law of the state. The ruling may have invalidated that section which is a matter that can only be addressed by the legislature.

While the ruling invalidated the decision to remove the mayor from office, the same ruling left standing the merits of the case which led to the removal vote. We urge the citizens of Muscatine to read the testimony from the removal hearings and the findings of fact that led to the removal vote. The City Council and the Mayor are agents of the electorate and ultimately they are responsible to the citizens of Muscatine.

The City of Muscatine remains focused on a great future for Muscatine by improving the infrastructure of the city, promoting Muscatine as a great place to live, work, raise a family, and be as transparent as possible in all dealings with the public.

The City Council may discuss the ruling, costs associated with the ruling, and any plans for an appeal during one of the regularly scheduled meetings in November."