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Suspended Ashland alderman files lawsuit to get seat back

By Brad Johnson, Reporter, bradj@kmiz.com
Published On: Oct 15 2013 06:26:38 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 15 2013 06:36:26 PM CDT
Jeff Anderson
ASHLAND, Mo. -

A suspended Ashland alderman is now turning to the courts to get his seat back.

City officials say after a September closed session board meeting, that Jeff Anderson wasn't apart of, they wrote and delivered a letter to him stating he was suspended.

Facts surrounding the suspension are still unknown. City officials stated Anderson tried to "circumvent the board" and he acted in a way inconsistent with the role of an alderman.

Anderson's lawyer, Chip Gentry, said if the board wants him off, he needs to be impeached according to state statute. He said there is a process in place for these kinds of situations and the city simply didn't follow it.

Anderson filed an injunction against the city stating the process has been manipulated to get him off the Board of Aldermen.

Gentry said that process needs to be protected. He said Ashland has its own ordinances in place that don't allow for suspensions. Gentry said there needs to be a hearing so Anderson can hear exactly what he did wrong.

“It also requires that there be good cause to actually remove someone from office, and to remove them from office, they have to be impeached and so there is no process for a suspension, there's no authority for a suspension,” Gentry said.

Gentry said he has talked with David Bandre, the lawyer the city hired for an impeachment process. Gentry said they're still working out scenarios of what could happen.

Bandre said it's up to the board to set a date for an impeachment hearing, which hasn't happened yet. Bandre said even if Anderson wins the case and gets reinstated on the board, it may be short-lived.

He said when a board hires an attorney and publicly talks about impeaching someone, then that is usually what happens.

Gentry said the city needs to be following the law.

“We're asking the court to step into the process and explain to the Board of Aldermen and the City of Ashland and the mayor of Ashland that there's not any suspension of an elected official,” Gentry said.

There is a hearing scheduled for Monday morning. Gentry said they're expecting a ruling from the judge within a few days.

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