Waynesville mayor impeached after council members voice concerns

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 1:23 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 3, 2023 at 9:35 AM CST
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WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (KY3) - Fellow city council members voted to remove the mayor of Waynesville during an impeachment trial Thursday night.

There are four counts of Impeachment: malfeasance in office, misfeasance and/or nonfeasance in office, failure or failure to faithfully demean himself in office, and mentally unable.

The mayor was convicted only on the second count “misfeasance and/or nonfeasance in office.”

Waynesville’s mayor, Jerry Brown, has held his position for roughly two years. Most of the time, he’s been censured and only permitted to work with the city’s administrator when he didn’t comply with the council’s request to abide by the terms of his office.

During the hearing, the public listened to the ten-page document accusing Brown of violating the city’s code of ethics. It also has a list of complaints against him including efforts to engage in threatening or abusive conduct toward city staff and interfering with the city’s daily operations.

A majority of the council members say he’s unfit to serve.

The impeachment hearing lasted several hours and each side gave their opening statements.

“You are going to hear from the city clerk who describes how the mayor inserted himself into situations he was not involved in,” said Jeff Dean‚on the city attorney’s behalf. “Article two goes to his failure to enforce ordinances under the code of ethics.”

“The mayor’s actions don’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense they rise to the level of rude and maybe disrespectful behavior,” said Christopher Thornton, Mayor Brown’s lawyer. “After the censure, his behavior had changed so what’s the point of an impeachment beyond that.”

During the hearing, Mayor Brown’s attorney asked to disqualify council member Cecil Davis saying he had a bias. The request was denied. The mayor’s attorney says he believes the impeachment is politically motivated by Davis and another councilwoman.

The city’s argument included multiple testimonies from city workers who worked hand and hand with the mayor.

It included city employees Miriam Jones and Amber Box talking about encounters they had with the mayor that made them feel like work was a “hostile environment.”

One of the witnesses Miriam Jones, who worked hand and hand with the mayor as the Waynesville executive assistant. Jones says she had uncomfortable interactions with Mayor Brown regarding his cell phone when he asked her to fix it.

″I never dreaded coming to work until these instances that happened,” said Jones. “When I pulled into the parking lot and I would see his car I dreaded coming in wondering what would happen next.”

The defense’s argument included three witnesses: Alan Clark, a former Waynesville city councilman and former St. Robert City Administrator, a former city administrator and attorney and Mayor Brown himself.

“We can all make corrections to our actions,” said Brown. “I did not intend to frighten or threaten anyone.”

The mayor’s attorney says they wanted to show the public how baseless, flawed, and petty the allegations made in the Articles of Impeachment are.

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