Town of Carthage Councilman Cole Ebel was removed during the most recent Carthage City Council Meeting on April 1, 2021 after being deemed to be out-of-order.
During the opening of the meeting, Councilman Steve Babcock made a motion “to limit discussion on each agenda item to two minutes per councilman per agenda item.” Councilwoman Barbara Kannapel seconded this motion. Councilman Ebel made the only discussion on the motion. The council voted 5-1 to pass the motion, with Councilman Ebel being the lone no vote.
During the Unfinished Business portion of the meeting, Councilman Ebel motioned to pass Item #1 Building Inspection Fees Resolution that would eliminate building inspection fees in the city. This motion did not receive a second, so the meeting continued to the next item.
Councilman Ebel then made a motion to pass Item #2 2A Sanctuary City Resolution. Councilman Ebel’s motion included reading the resolution. After just under two minutes elapsed of Councilman Ebel speaking, Mayor Sarah Marie Smith ruled Councilman Ebel over his time limit and ruled his action Out-of-Order. Councilman Ebel refuted this, and Mayor Smith and Councilman Ebel continued back and forth for about 20 seconds before Councilwoman Barbara Kannapel made a recommendation “for the officer to remove this person who has been asked to stop and has been out-of-order.” City Attorney Todd Moore then asked Councilman Ebel to make a motion only and not read the entire resolution per previous precedent. Councilman Ebel asked if he had gone over his time limit and was ruled to have been over. Councilman Ebel made a motion, but it failed due to a lack of a second.
Councilman Ebel then attempted to make a motion to pass Item #3 Property Tax Resolution. After Councilman Ebel had spoken for approximately sixteen seconds, Mayor Smith stated that the motion had been made and the council could read the resolution themselves. Councilman Ebel stated that he still had time to read his motion and would like to do so. During a back and forth between the councilman and mayor, all other members of the council began to stand up and/or leave. Councilwoman Kannapel stated that “this is not a civil meeting, so either the person who is out-of-order needs to be removed or the council needs to leave.”
Mayor Smith then requested Police Chief Brit Davis to remove Councilman Ebel. The councilman made a few remarks and left the meeting without incident, and the council meeting continued without consideration of the Property Tax Resolution.
The Town of Carthage has formally adopted Robert’s Rules of Order for parliamentary procedure; however, no motion or vote of removal of the councilman was put forth by the council. The councilman’s removal from the meeting does not appear to have been done correctly as Robert’s Rules of Order states a member of the assembly may only be removed by a vote of the assembly.
In an email to the mayor and council on Tuesday April 6th, City Attorney Todd Moore stated that he believed Mayor Smith was within her authority to remove Councilman Ebel during the meeting. He also stated that he “researched Roberts’ Rules and it is my opinion that Cole should not have been asked to leave the meeting without a vote by the council.” Attorney Moore also recommended the council address this issue and allow Councilman Ebel to present his resolutions for consideration during its next meeting.
You can watch the full meeting below.