An ethics complaint against Council member Paul Ridley was filed by Kristin Scholer, the District 14 resident recently removed from the City’s Redistricting Commission by the City Council at the request of Ridley. Scholer was appointed to the Commission by former City Council member David Blewett, who lost his seat to Ridley.
Ridley asked the Council to approve his request to unseat her under a City Charter provision that allows for a commissioner’s removal if it is “in the interests of the public.” The Council voted 10-5 in favor of dismissal.
In the City Council hearing August 25, Ridley argued that he made “multiple attempts” to contact Scholer to discuss her appointment to the Commission. Scholer said she received one e-mail and chose not to respond since it was her intention to remain on the Commission and Commission members are forbidden by the rules to discuss “the work of the Commission” with Council members.
It’s a bit of “he said, she said”, the difference between one e-mail and “multiple attempts” to communicate. According to Scholer’s complaint, Ridley made “false, dishonest statements to the City Council and about me.” Her complaint includes detailed phone records. Ridley’s response includes questions about the validity of Scholer’s phone records and affidavits from his staff that they heard him leave a voice mail for Scholer. The Council member’s response also states he may have misdialed the number, leaving a message for the wrong person.
Prior to the hearing, Scholer said: “My phone records show that I never received a call from any phone number associated with Paul Ridley or his office. His response to my complaint states a phone call to me was made from his office the week of July 19. If he could just provide the call record to show that call to my number actually happened, it would clear all of this up.”
The hearing will be held Friday, October 8, at 9:30 a.m. in front of the preliminary panel of the Ethics Advisory Commission. Details to watch and listen can be found here. The full Commission is seven members; the preliminary panel is three members, including chairman Tim Powell. The preliminary panel decides if the complaint has merit. If a majority of the panel decides the complaint does not warrant any further inquiry, the process ends. If the panel believes more information should be heard, a meeting of the full commission is held and testimony is taken.
Should the full commission vote to support the complaint, a full range of sanctions could be made against Ridley, ranging from a letter of notification to removal from office.