Jun. 18—CLAYTON — In response to questions about
The hearing was the latest development in allegations by committee chairman
The charter includes similar provisions for the offices of police chief, prosecuting attorney, counselor and assessor. On Thursday, the four-person ethics committee invited Zimmerman, former county prosecutor
They each told the committee — which includes Council Chair
"I felt it was mandated by the charter, but it was never really a choice in my mind," said McNary, a Republican who was county prosecuting attorney for three years before serving as county executive from 1975 to 1989.
Page has repeatedly denied the ethics committee's requests for his work schedule and information about compensation, telling the panel his personal finances and activities on his own time "are not your proper concern" and calling the inquiry "political theater." His reelection campaign has also referenced the issue in a fundraising email that accused "
Members of the ethics committee denied that speakers at Thursday's meeting had a political motive, making a point to note their past political connections to the involved parties: Zimmerman ran against Page in the August Democratic primary, and Kleinknecht previously served as treasurer for Fitch's county council campaign.
Zimmerman said he felt it was his "obligation" to the council to answer an invitation from Harder to testify.
"I can only tell you the choice I've made which is not to seek outside employment," he said. "For me, one job is plenty."
McCulloch, one-time political ally of former County Executive
When Fitch asked McCulloch if he were still prosecuting attorney whether he would file a court motion against Page, McCulloch said, "Somebody would be looking deeply into it, absolutely."
McCulloch told the council the prosecuting attorney and the state attorney general have the authority to file a court petition to vacate offices in the event of charter violations. But, he said, he would likely ask the courts for an outside prosecutor to avoid a conflict of interest with the executive branch. In 2018 McCulloch asked the courts for a special prosecutor to investigate allegations that Councilman
Another former county executive,
Harder said after the committee meeting that he did not invite Dooley or
In a statement, Bell declined to comment on McCulloch's testimony to the committee.
"What is clear regarding the County Charter language is its lack of clarity, which is not under the purview of this office," Bell said.
After the hearing, the committee met behind closed doors and emerged to adjourn the session, without voting on a plan announced last month to subpoena Page's work records. The committee had said they would subpoena the records if Mercy or Western didn't respond to requests for the information by a
Harder said after the meeting that an attorney for Western denied the request, but that the committee needed to consider "all options" in enforcing a potential subpoena, including seeking legal aid from a special prosecutor or the state attorney general.
"We're only going to get one bite at the apple here, so we've got to make sure we're on solid legal ground going forward," he said.
A spokesman for Western Anesthesiology could not be reached for comment. Mercy has said that Western is responsible for scheduling anesthesiologists.
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