A New Carlisle city councilman accused of continued misconduct said he intends to bring his fight to court if he is removed from his seat by fellow members.
Through a motion at Monday night’s city council meeting, members voted to remove Ethan Reynolds, 22, from office because of what they called “continued misconduct.”
City Manager Kim Jones said a memorandum from the city’s law director would be sent to Reynolds via certified letter to outline the alleged misconduct.
That letter, released to media Friday evening, accuses Reynolds of conduct unbecoming a council member.
“You have spoken in a slanderous manner to several persons, including a fellow Council member,” states the letter in which Reynolds also is accused of claiming another council member “habitually drinks to excess at the local American Legion and on more than one occasion has been stopped by local deputies for suspected driving while intoxicated and let go because of his office.”
City council members have declined to discuss the allegations until after a public hearing scheduled for Sept. 30, citing Reynolds’ rights to due process.
In an exclusive interview with the Springfield News-Sun, Reynolds addressed what the possible allegations could be as they related to his time on city council. He said he believes they are politically motivated.
“It’s a philosophical difference of opinion. I have members of council who’ve always complained. They say I stir people up because I go door-to-door, but I believe the best way to represent the people who put you there is to go talk to the people,” he said.
Before Monday’s council meeting, Reynolds posted on his personal Facebook page that the motion was made because members were unhappy that he questioned whether another councilman had been stopped for alleged drunk driving and they said he was fueling the story. In the post, which was copied by the News-Sun but has since been deleted, Reynolds named the councilman. A court records search of that councilman showed no criminal charges in Clark County.
Reynolds denied that his actions through his questions and social media post were “driving the rumor mill.”
He was formally reprimanded by his fellow council members Aug. 6 for “aggressive and discourteous” responses to Jones regarding campaign signs for Bethel Twp. trustee, an office he is seeking in November. Reynolds, who would serve on both boards, said he didn’t feel his actions to the manager nor to council justified his removal for misconduct.
The incident involving the campaign signs is mentioned in the letter released Friday evening.
Reynolds added that his removal should only be done through the voters who elected him.
“If the people wanted me off, I would say, ‘Get petitions for a recall. I’ll sign your petition,’ ” he said. “If you want me gone, let the people decide, not council.”
A hearing for Reynolds has been scheduled for Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. It has been moved to New Carlisle Elementary because of space.
According to the city charter, Reynolds will be allowed to present evidence against the allegations of misconduct. An affirmative vote by five council members would remove him from office. Reynolds said if that happens, he has hired an attorney and intends to file a court case.