Ethan Reynolds held onto his New Carlise City Council seat Monday night, despite a close vote and accusations that he fueled rumors about other council members online.
Council members voted 4 to 3 in favor of removing Reynolds, 22, from the city council. However, five votes were needed, meaning Reynolds will be allowed to serve the remainder of his term.
Reynolds and his attorney said the motion to remove him was politically and personally motivated and did not rise to a level that merited his removal. Reynolds is in the middle of a two-year term on the council and also is running for a seat on the Bethel Twp. Board of Trustees.
“I think cooler heads prevailed,” Reynolds said.
Council member Rick Lowery admitted he and Reynolds did not get along. But Reynolds had vowed to take the issue to the courts if he was removed, and Lowery said he voted against the motion because a legal fight would be a waste of city resources.
“Ethan, don’t look at me like I like you because I don’t,” Lowery said.
Several council members said Reynolds had suggested that Lowery might have been stopped for driving under the influence. Lowery said he was stopped for driving on a closed street. Lowery also pointed out that it was later discovered he was correct and the street was open.
Before Monday’s hearing, Reynolds had posted on his personal Facebook page that the motion to remove him came about because other council members were unhappy that he questioned whether Lowery had been stopped for drunk driving. That post has since been deleted.
Brian Stewart, an attorney who represented Reynolds, argued some of the accusations against Reynolds appear to have come from potential political opponents for the Bethel Twp. seat in this November’s election. Stewart argued Reynolds was elected by residents during an election, and his seat shouldn’t be placed in jeopardy by five council members.
“This is not a recipe for good government, and it’s not something that Mr. Reynolds will allow to go unchecked,” Stewart said.
Several of Reynolds’ supporters in the crowd applauded Stewart’s closing arguments.
After the hearing, Reynolds said he was happy with the results. He said the dispute will not affect council business moving forward.
“It’s just water under the bridge, and it rolls off the back,” Reynolds said.
Lowell McGlothin, mayor of New Carlisle, voted to remove Reynolds, but agreed council members will move forward now that the hearing has been resolved. McGlothin said he believes Reynolds’ actions not only fueled rumors about a council member but also falsely implied that Clark County Sheriff’s deputies might be allowing council members to drive while under the influence because of their position with the city. McGlothin argued the dispute was not politically motivated but was the result of a situation that built up over several months among council members.
“He needs to, in my estimation, quit putting half-truths on Facebook for the followers he has,” McGlothin said.
The Springfield News-Sun is committed to balanced political coverage, telling both sides of the dispute between members of New Carlisle City Council.