Green Bay mayor asks judge to stop hearing on removal petition

Mayor Jim Schmitt
(Photo: WBAY)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – The attorney for Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt has filed a court order asking a judge to stop the City Council from holding a hearing on a petition seeking to remove the mayor from office.

The City Council hearing on the removal petition is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 20 at 5 p.m.

The writ of prohibition filed by Schmitt’s attorney says the City Council “lacks jurisdiction and authority to proceed with a hearing on the petition for removal because the petition fails to allege any misconduct by Schmitt that meets the definition of cause for removal under Wis. Stat. 17.001 and 17.16(2).”

In December, Green Bay resident Scott Vanidestine filed a petition to remove the mayor from office after Schmitt was convicted of violating Wisconsin campaign finance rules.

“I felt he violated the public’s trust and he should have been removed,” said Vanidestine.

The mayor was sentenced to pay a $4,000 fine and serve 40 hours of community service in return for pleading guilty to three misdemeanor charges, including Election Fraud.

The document filed to stop the hearing on Vanisdestine’s petition states the charges brought against the Schmitt didn’t involve his conduct as mayor but instead his conduct as a candidate for office.

The writ states the citizen petition “fails to allege any facts establishing that Schmitt was inefficient, that he neglected his mayoral duties, that he engaged in any misconduct in his official mayoral duties, or that he engaged in malfeasance in office.”

In addition to stopping the council from holding a hearing on the petition, the mayor’s filing asks for the council to show cause as to why it should not be restrained from further proceedings.

The City Council has hired an attorney from Milwaukee to represent them in this case.

Outagamie County Judge John Des Jardins has been assigned to hear the mayor’s case against the City Council. A date has not been set yet.

Mayor Schmitt has completed all conditions of his sentencing for election fraud, according to a statement from his attorney. The mayor submitted proof of fifty hours of community service, which he completed at non-profit organizations in Green Bay; and full payment of costs and fines.

Mayor Schmitt’s chief of staff says Mayor Schmitt is waiting for a disposition by the judge before he comments on the case.

In the meantime, Vanidestine said he will continue preparing for the hearing Monday.

“I am going to do everything in my power to get this to go through,” said Vanidestine.

If city council members vote to remove Mayor Schmitt from office, city council president Tom De Wane would take over as acting mayor.

 

 

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