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Clay leaves proposal to oust him off council agenda

February 16, 2018

Embattled Indianapolis City-County Council President Stephen Clay, facing removal from his position on Monday, has made a move to stop that from happening: He simply left the proposal to oust him off the meeting agenda.

On Jan. 29, a majority of council members took procedural steps to put the question of Clay’s removal as president on the next council meeting’s agenda.

But the agenda for Monday’s meeting, released this afternoon, contained no such agenda item. Instead, it contained a proposal to send a motion to remove Clay to the council's ethics committee, which would “consider whether President Clay has committed any violations" under city code.

That’s significant because the ethics committee is controlled by Republicans, who along with a minority of Democrats elevated Clay to the presidency in the first place. Clay replaced the Democratic chair of the ethics committee with a Republican shortly after he was voted into the top office in early January.

A worker who answered the phone at the council office Friday afternoon said she “didn’t have a concrete answer” about why the agenda item was left off. The worker referred questions to Clay.

Clay did not immediately respond to IBJ’s request for comment about why he left off the agenda item.

But his foes said they are determined to go through with the vote to attempt to remove him from the office.

Vice President Zach Adamson said Clay did not have the authority to leave the proposal off the agenda and that it did not jeopardize their efforts.

“But when has having no authority ever stopped a tyrant?” Adamson said. “We let the council majority deal with it.”

Fired Council Attorney Fred Biesecker told IBJ that what was published today is considered a preliminary agenda.

“It becomes final only when the full council approves it at the meeting,” Biesecker said. “The full council can amend the preliminary agenda by adopting a motion prior to final approval.”

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