Carmel City Council to consider procedures removing councilor from office 

Sue Finkam

The Carmel City Council will review a proposed ordinance at its Oct. 18 meeting that Council President Sue Finkam said she hopes will never have to be used. 

The ordinance, sponsored by Finkam and Councilor Laura Campbell, outlines steps for removing a councilor from office. 

“We are introducing it so we have a process for removal in place should we get a bad actor or someone who is physically or mentally unable to serve and won’t or can’t resign,” Finkam said. “I do not plan on enacting it while I’m president.” 

The proposed ordinance states that the council has the authority to expel any of its members for violation of official duty or declare the seat vacant if a council member is unable to perform the duties of office. 

The process would begin with a resolution directing the city’s corporation counsel to write a bill of impeachment outlining the nature of the charges and facts supporting them. The council member at risk of expulsion has 15 days to respond to the impeachment in writing.

The next step is for the council to call a special meeting to conduct a hearing to receive evidence for and against removal of the councilor. Some aspects of the hearing may take place in executive session, meaning it would not be in a meeting open to the public. 

At the conclusion of the hearing, the council would vote on whether to remove the councilor in question. Two-thirds of the council must vote for removal for it to occur. 

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Councilors began exploring the possibility of establishing a policy to remove a council member after it became unclear whether City Councilor Bruce Kimball would be able to continue in his official capacity. Kimball, 68, suffered a series of ministrokes in December 2020 and has been absent from the council since then. 

“I’ve said all along that (Kimball) rightfully won two elections and should be allowed appropriate time to heal,” said Finkam, whose term as president expires at the end of 2021. “We are coming up on a year post-recovery. I believe it’s only right that we have these discussions about this process in case his absence gets extended into 2022.” 

Kimball did not respond to requests for comment as of press time. 

Kimball, 68, joined the council in 2016 and won reelection in 2019. There are still more than two years left in his term that runs through 2023. 

If Kimball resigns or the council votes to vacate his seat, the Hamilton County Republican Party will hold a caucus to select his replacement.