Opinions by London City Council members were mixed when asked Thursday about Mayor Pat Closser’s request for the resignation of Council President Joe Russell.
Russell, who was originally charged with and arrested for domestic violence resulting from an incident at his home on the evening of Sept. 10, pleaded to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct in Madison County Municipal Court on Monday.
He was sentenced to a $150 fine and $105 in court costs.
A press release by the mayor giving his — the administration’s — position calling on Russell to voluntarily resign was published Wednesday. Russell told The Madison Press that he does not intend to resign.
“It’s shocking, I guess you could say,” said Council member Dick Minner. “I had no knowledge of it until I read about it in the paper. He (Mayor Closser) is the mayor and I am not. I think he is using the best judgment to do what is right. I know that the mayor is trying to protect the city, but I don’t know what I would do exactly in his shoes. Those two could be lovers again already and out having a milkshake together.”
Council member Rex Castle said he stands behind the mayor. “I stand by the mayor in his comments. It is an unfortunate incident that paints the city in a bad light. After seeing the comments on Facebook, it would be best for Joe to step aside.”
“I think it is appropriate (for Russell to step down),” said council member Lora Long. “I don’t want to say too much because it is his life.”
Council member Brenda Russell said she has no comment. “I know only what was in The Madison Press, but I intend to get the police report. I am totally against domestic violence — it is inexcusable.”
Council member Trint Hatt said, “I totally support the mayor. The city leaders are held to a high standard. He needs to step down and get his house in order before he can take care of the city’s needs. He needs to step down for the good of the city and the good of himself.”
Also asked if Russell should resign as requested by the mayor was his Democrat opponent in last November’s election, Butch Scott.
“I have nothing really to say other than if it came out earlier, the results might have been different. It is what it is,” he said.
Reach Andrew Garrett at 740-852-1616, ext. 1616.