Posted: 5:20 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013

New Details New Carlisle

Council tries to oust member

New Carlisle’s youngest representative fights to remain on job.Other members allege ‘continued misconduct’ by Reynolds.

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Ethan Reynolds.

Should Ethan Reynolds lose his seat on city council?

Yes  48 votes

42%

No  66 votes

57%

114 total votes

By Jessica Heffner

Staff Writer

NEW CARLISLE —

A New Carlisle city councilman who’s already been reprimanded by his fellow members is now facing the possibility of losing his seat.

Council members approved a measure at their Monday meeting to remove Ethan Reynolds, 22, from office due to what they called “continued misconduct.”

The move is allowed by the city’s charter, which includes a provision for forfeiture of office for engaging in misconduct. The charter allows for the member to request a public hearing, which Reynolds has done, said Kim Jones, New Carlisle city manager.

A memorandum outlining the items of misconduct will be sent to Reynolds via certified mail. Jones said she could not comment on the allegations until the public hearing, which is scheduled for Sept. 30.

In an exclusive interview with the Springfield News-Sun, Reynolds said he doesn’t know what the misconduct is, and he was informed it could be “what council chooses,” according to the charter.

He said he received a call from Mayor Lowell McGlothin before the meeting, informing him of the motion. Reynolds said he was told that if he resigned, “that this would all go away.”

“It’s all politically motivated. I find it funny that it comes on the heels of the election that I’m in for Bethel Twp. trustee,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds was formally reprimanded by his fellow council members last month for “aggressive and discourteous” responses to Jones regarding campaign signs.

In the Aug . 6 letter sent to Reynolds, members claimed he responded with a “lack of respect for the city manager” and a “threat to sue the city” when Jones informed him he was violating the city’s sign ordinance by displaying his Bethel Twp. Board of Trustees signs more than 90 days before the Nov. 5 election. Reynolds is running for the township office while also planning to keep his city council seat.

McGlothin declined to talk about the recent allegations of misconduct, stating the city law director instructed him to hold his comments until the hearing. Councilwoman Jane Manemann said the council is “protecting (Reynolds’) rights until he has the hearing” by not discussing the case.

“We presented him with a letter of reprimand. In that letter it says conduct unbecoming a city councilman. In the motion that was made Monday night it says ‘continuing misconduct,’ which should tell you that things have not improved a lot,” Manemann said.

“There was nothing said at that (last) council meeting because he has a right to a hearing, and I do not want to violate his rights,” she added.

Since his election in 2011, Reynolds said he’s battled with other council members because of his age and different philosophy and “grassroots” approach to government. He said he requested the hearing, an option outlined in the charter, because he wants to continue working for the city.

“I will fight it all the way,” he said. “I believe that (the voters) voted me here, and I think that the people should decide, (and) not (that) five members of council should hold the fate of 816 citizen votes.”

Courtney Eaton, a New Carlisle resident, said Reynolds is the only local representative she knows because he goes door-to-door talking to voters about city issues. She has a sign in her front yard supporting his bid for a trustee seat in Bethel Twp.

Eaton said she thinks voters should be the ones to decide if Reynolds stays on city council, not the members.

“I think he’s just being picked on,” she said.

The public hearing will be held Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Smith Park Shelter House.

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