Casper City Council Passes ‘Removal of Officials’ Ordinance
Casper City Council voted 6-3 for a long-contested ordinance for a process to remove council members at its meeting Tuesday.
The ordinance, passed on third reading, would penalize direct violations of the city’s code of ethics, as well as sexual harassment, workplace violence and the creation of a hostile work environment.
The process would require a two-thirds supermajority of the nine-member council to initiate an investigation.
As currently written, the ordinance penalized felonies, improper residency, being declared insane or incompetent by a judge, being convicted “of a crime of moral turpitude,” and failing to take the oath of office.
But it didn't affect civil offenses.
The amended code discussion comes after councilman Craig Hedquist was accused of ethics and conduct violations last year. He was found guilty of those violations during a public hearing in May and was asked to resign.
Mayor Paul Meyer said the ordinance would hold council members accountable.
Councilman Steve Cathey said the ordinance that has been in effect would allow him to sexually harass a city staff member with no repercussions.
However, council members Keith Goodenough and Hedquist said the ordinance was vaguely worded with terms such as holding members "above reproach."
"'Above reproach,' what does that mean," Hedquist asked.
Councilmember Charlie Powell said the ordinance would never be used to remove someone from office just because other council members don't like them.
"A two-thirds majority is a difficult thing to achieve," Powell said.