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Superior Council Draws Cards to Elect President, Paine Vetoes Censure

Baihly Warfield
Updated: June 19, 2019 04:17 AM

At an eventful Superior City Council meeting Tuesday night, the president was elected via card draw and Mayor Jim Paine used the first veto of his time in office to overturn a censure. 

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For months, councilors have been unable to come to an agreement about who should serve as president. 

Councilors Brent Fennessey and Ruth Ludwig were nominated. But after several attempts to elect one of them, neither got the needed six votes. 

At Fennessey's request, City Attorney Frog Prell looked into the possibility of breaking the impasse by doing a card draw. Last week, Prell determined it was within the rules. Tuesday night, councilors voted to go that route, despite Mayor Paine's objections. The highest card would win and become president.

Fennessey drew first, showing a four of hearts. Ludwig refused to draw a card herself, saying it went against her integrity as an elected official, so Paine drew for her. He pulled out a two of spades, and Fennessey became council president. 

He said after the meeting it is "time to move forward." 

The other contentious issue at Tuesday's meeting was a censure resolution against Councilor Jenny Van Sickle, brought forward by Councilor Craig Sutherland. 

Sutherland believed comments Van Sickle made on social media regarding Attorney Prell's card draw decision merited censure. 

On Twitter, Van Sickle wrote, "Prell has a long established reputation of repugnant incompetence. No one of merit would take this seriously. The opinion itself is riddled with manipulated and irrelevant citations and plenty of contradictions and worse, pure laziness."

Van Sickle said at the meeting that elected officials are effectively Prell's only oversight. 

"This censure will not detour my right, my responsibility or my duty to speak out. I will not back down. I told the truth. I have no regrets, and I am not sorry," she said.

The censure passed 6-4. Councilors Tylor Elm, Warren Bender, Ludwig and Van Sickle voted no. 

But then Mayor Paine stepped in, saying he was vetoing the resolution. 

"This is a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and contrary to the values of a representative democracy," Paine said.

Neither he nor Van Sickle would comment on reports that they are in a relationship. When asked, Van Sickle said, "Next question." Paine said he had nothing to offer beyond what he said at an afternoon press conference. 

According to City Clerk Terri Kalan, if two-thirds of councilors get on board, they could overturn Paine's veto. 

After the meeting, Councilor Sutherland said the veto was "absolutely crazy." As far as overturning it, he said he'll see how it goes and that the longer the issue drags out, the more damage it does. 

Credits

Baihly Warfield

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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