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Monday's vote to remove Stephen Clay as City-County Council President may be delayed

Posted: 4:59 PM, Feb 16, 2018
Updated: 2018-02-19 18:15:23Z
Vote to remove Clay as president may be delayed

INDIANAPOLIS -- City-County Council President Stephen Clay is taking steps to try to delay a vote that was scheduled for Monday to determine whether he will remain president of the council. 

Clay replaced the item on the Feb. 19 agenda with a proposal to move the vote from the full council to the Ethics Committee.

Council Minority Leader Michael McQuillen is listed as the person introducing the proposal, but says he did not know Clay made any change to the agenda. He told RTV6 he's in the process of consulting with legal counsel to determine next steps.

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Councilman Joseph Simpson made a motion at the Jan. 29 council meeting to remove Clay as president.

The motion passed in a second vote, with 13 council members voting in favor and 10 abstaining.

Those who voted in favor say they rejected the "political gamesmanship" of the council president.

Clay, a Democrat, won the council presidency thanks to the support of nine Republicans who crossed party lines to vote for him over incumbent president Maggie Lewis. 

Clay returned the favor by awarding the council’s minority party with the chairs of three committees: public works, ethics, and rules & public policy.

In the meantime, Clay fired the clerk and the general counsel of the city-county council .

MORE | Indianapolis City-County Council president launches audit after shredded paystubs, raises come to light

He called the firings "transitional" and said they were already in the works.

Eight Indianapolis City-County councilors filed a lawsuit last Thursday against Clay, saying Clay's firing of the clerk and attorney for the council was "illegal, unauthorized and autocratic."  

A partial settlement in that lawsuit was reached Friday. Both sides agreed to allow a third party to come in and act as attorney for Monday night's council meeting. 

TIMELINE

  • Jan. 8 - Stephen Clay elected council president. He unseated Maggie Lewis in a 14-11 vote. All Republicans on the council voted for Clay except for Jeff Miller and Brian Mowery
  • Jan. 29 - Democrats took a no confidence vote in Clay's ability to effectively lead. They argued Clay "deceived members of the Democratic caucus," and struck deals that amounted to "quid pro quo" maneuvering
  • Jan. 31 - Clay fired two high-level council staff members: Clerk of the Council NaTrina DeBow and General Counsel Fred Biesecker
  • Feb. 6 - Clay announces a financial and operational audit of the council office. He says he found shredded documents and uncovered evidence of improper pay raises given to DeBow and the deputy clerk of the council, Sa'Rita Hughes. DeBow's attorney held a press conference later that afternoon stating she didn't know any files were missing, and the raises were justified
  • Feb. 7 - Democrats expelled Clay from their caucus
  • Feb. 8 - Eight members of council and DeBow file a lawsuit against Clay, alleging he broke state law by firing the Clerk of the Council and General Counsel
  • Feb. 16 - Council agenda for Feb. 19 meeting publicly released. Proposal allowing discussion and vote to remove Clay from presidency not listed. New proposal postpones discussion and vote on Clay's removal by sending measure to ethics committee.

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