MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) — The city attorney is arguing that Muscatine's mayor should be removed for allegedly making numerous false accusations against other city officials and exceeding her authority.
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.
The city council voted last month to begin removal proceedings. The next step would be a hearing for Broderson to respond to the charges, which allege she should be removed for "willful misconduct."
The complaint says Broderson has 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.
"It's ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. The mayor has to have the consent of the city council to talk to her people?" questioned Jim Merideth, who voted for Mayor Broderson.
"Making baseless complaints was, among other things, a violation of the City's Ethics Policy," reads the complaint.
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."
Broderson and her supporters have accused the council of a political witch hunt. They are upset with how the council has treated the mayor and its citizens and are fighting back, starting a new petition to remove council members.
"We all just really got tired of the way the city council was treating us," said Ann Brumback who started the original online petition.
Broderson's term began Jan. 1, 2016 and is scheduled to expire Dec. 31, 2017.
Read the full complaint here: City of Muscatine's Written Charges of Removal of Mayor