The Chapter 17 complaint filed against Mayor Judy Magee by Tricia Rose is scheduled to go to a public hearing starting Monday, June 15.
Interim City Administrator Chuck Kell told the Clintonville City Council at its meeting Tuesday, May 12, that following the special council meeting on April 28 the attorney investigating the Chapter 17 complaint prepared a service of charges and a written notice for the time and place for a hearing.
Kell said the documents were delivered to Magee on May 6.
The hearing, which will be open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 15. A 10 p.m. cutoff has been established for the hearing. If the hearing is not completed by 10 p.m., the hearing will be adjourned until Tuesday, June 16 at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 23 has also been reserved for the hearing if a third night is needed, Kell said.
“Everything else from this point on will be the attorneys preparing and then presenting their case at the hearing,” Kell said. “The attorney that the city hired, Jim Kalny with Davis Kuelthau, he will serve as the hearing examiner. It will be his job to keep that hearing focused and to make sure the decorum is and proper process is followed.”
Kell said the council will be present to hear the evidence. The council will be allowed to take notes, something it wasn’t allowed to do during the investigation of former city administrator Lisa Kotter.
The council will decide the outcome of the complaint that was filed. In a follow-up interview, Kell said a three-fourths vote of the council is needed to find Magee guilty of the allegations in the complaint. That equates to eight votes.
During the follow-up interview, the Tribune-Gazette asked Kell how much the city has been invoiced by Davis Kuelthau Attorneys at Law for attorney Kalny to conduct the investigation of the charges in the complaint. Kell said that total is $2,138.
When asked if the fees are paid by the city or come out of the $1,000 bond Rose paid prior to the investigation, Kell responded, “It can come out of that $1,000. That’s one of the reasons they’re required to put up a bond, or be required to put up a cash bond. So, yeah, I would assume this first round of bills we’ll pay with that cash bond.”
Kell added that the complainant, in this case Rose, is responsible for expenses, but ultimately how the issue is resolved will determine who pays.
If the hearing process is completed and the council doesn’t think there is enough evidence to remove the mayor from office, Rose will be responsible for the legal costs, Kell said.
Kell said the city is responsible for the cost of Magee’s defense. If Magee is removed from office for “just cause” then Kell said he thinks Magee would be responsible for her own defense costs.
“We had the choice up front to hire the attorney for her or for her to go her own way, and then we’re responsible for her costs,” Kell said. “The council decided they didn’t want to hire the attorney for her so we’re responsible for whatever the costs are.”
Kell confirmed that the city has to pay for all the costs associated with the hearing. This includes the cost of the attorney the city hired to be the hearing examiner, as well as a court reporter which is required at the hearing.
Kell said there are two scenarios in which the hearing won’t take place. The first is if Rose withdraws her complaint prior to the hearing. The second is if Magee resigns from office prior to the hearing.