Not with a bang but a whimper - quiet conclusion to Muscatine impeachment

I’ll be stunned if this holds up in court after reading Tracy Leone’s previous reports on the unprecedented effort to remove the Muscatine mayor. -promoted by desmoinesdem

There were almost as many journalists in the room as there were Muscatine residents present when the city council voted unanimously on May 11 to remove Mayor Diana Broderson from office in the conclusion of the first impeachment trial in Iowa history. (Watch the video of the meeting, which lasted less than three minutes.)

The special council meeting was called shortly after the deadline for defense and prosecution attorneys to submit their evidence Tuesday, May 2.

The decision to remove the mayor was the single issue on the agenda. The copies of the agenda sitting on a small table just inside council chambers stated that this would be an “In-Depth” meeting. The second item on the agenda after the roll call said there would be “Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Petition to Remove Mayor”. It was followed by four bullet points:

• Post-Hearing Brief in Support of Removal of Mayor – John Nahra
• Finding of Fact and Order on the City of Muscatine’s Written Charges of Removal – John Nahra
• Brief and Memorandum of Law – William Sueppel
• Proposed Decision – William Sueppel

After all this thoughtful discussion from the prosecution and defense, the third item on the agenda there said there would be a time for “Comments”, assumedly from the public.

None of that “in-depth” consideration happened.

The Mayor gaveled in shortly after 7:00 pm and directed the roll call. She then announced there was only one item on the agenda and asked council how they wanted to proceed. Council member Harvey immediately made the motion to remove the mayor from office. The motion was seconded and the Mayor read a roll call vote:
“Spread”
“Aye”
“Harvey”
“Aye”
“Bynum”
“Aye”
“Saucedo”
“Aye”
“Natvig”
“Aye”
“Fitzgerald”
“Aye”
“And, Rehwaldt”
“Aye”
“Motion is approved with all Ayes.”

The Mayor’s question to the council members if there were any other comments was met with silence, and the meeting was adjourned just one minute and thirty-five seconds after starting. Even Congressman Rod Blum’s recent temper tantrum in which he walked out on an interview lasted longer.

“Excuse me, Ma’am, no discussion?” a person asked from the crowd, befuddled.

Despite the agenda’s promise of “Comments” council member Fitzgerald explained, “In Depth meetings we don’t typically have discussion other than just council.”

Someone whispered in the crowd, “it’s one of the items…on the agenda.”

Trailed by reporters, Mayor Broderson then joined her husband and walked out of the room and down the hall to the Mayor’s office.

The Kangaroo-Court Impeachment Hearing is over.

Transcript of the mayor’s remarks after the city council meeting:

Well, obviously we’re disappointed, but we’re not surprised. We assumed it would go this way. When the person that’s accusing you is also the one that is deciding the final decision, then it’s obvious what that decision is gonna be. And as we could see, you know, it was seven to nothing, no discussion, and that’s pretty much how it’s been since I have been elected.

So, of course, we will appeal. That will be going up first thing in the morning. Everything’s ready to go. And we will keep moving forward.

As I said, we’re disappointed. We’re disappointed in the process. You know, I mean–we, all the people that came out to vote, they had an understanding when they voted that things would be a certain way, and it’s not happening for them. So I’m disappointed for the office of mayor for the entire state as well as for all of the voters. And I appreciate all the people that have offered their support, their kind words, and their encouragement throughout this entire process.

We are not giving up. This is not the end, and we know that we will prevail once we get this to a proper jurisdiction in District Court. We are very confident that we will prevail there and we can get back to the business of the city of Muscatine.

And now that Mayor Broderson’s attorney William Sueppel filed a motion at 8:00 am this morning in District Court, we will finally see justice take place.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: Mayor Broderson intended to file an injunction pending an appeal of the decision in District Court Friday morning. However, the City of Muscatine has not yet made the motion to remove the mayor a public document. Until the city makes this motion public, the injunction cannot be filed.

SECOND UPDATE from desmoinesdem: For those who want to read more about this case, I’ve uploaded the following documents:

Brief filed by Broderson’s attorney Sueppel, who outlined many violations of Broderson’s due process rights and argued that the mayor had never engaged in any willful misconduct or maladministration.

“Findings of fact” filed by special counsel John Nahra, seeking to substantiate the Muscatine city attorney’s written charges of removal, which were drawn up in February.

Brief in support of removing the mayor, filed by Nahra after the Kangaroo Court hearings in city council chambers.

LATER UPDATE from desmoinesdem: The morning of May 16, the city of Muscatine finally posted on its website Nahra’s brief in support of removal, signed by all seven city council members. The document is dated May 11. At this writing, Muscatine City Manager Gregg Mandsager has not explained the reason for the delay in posting.

Top image: Photo by Tracy Leone of May 11 Muscatine City Council meeting.

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