Troy Council seeks replacement for recalled mayor

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Troy officials this week began the task of finding a replacement for recently recalled Mayor Don Banning.

In last month’s recall election, Banning was voted out of office by a 190-123 margin.

“I think we need to find a mayor totally impartial to one side or the other,” council member Joe Arts recommended before a packed room with people spilling out onto the sidewalk.

“I would like to be mayor,” City Council President Phil Fisher said. Fisher is acting mayor until the council appoints a replacement for Banning.

“I think we want someone with experience,” said council member Fran McCully, who spearheaded the recall effort. “Not someone from the outside.”

One possibility was Tony Brown, who previously served as mayor during the late 1970s.

“I’d consider it,” Brown said. “I have no ax to grind.”

The council will hold a meeting today to consider mayoral applicants. The deadline to apply was Thursday.

The council will appoint an interim mayor to serve until a new mayor is elected in November.

Banning’s tenure as mayor was controversial almost from the beginning, and it escalated in recent months leading up to the recall election.

“I’m disappointed,” Banning said after losing the recall election. “I really thought the numbers would be the other way. I’m done with it. If people want to talk to me about this, I’ll talk, but right now I just feel like I need to go out and cut my grass.”

District Judge James B. Wheelis had determined there was sufficient reason to seek the recall based on the four allegations made by McCully against the mayor:

v Banning had terminated City Attorney Charles Evans without the consent of the council, a violation of state law.

v Banning had cashed a check for $331.80 made out to him without the approval of the council that exceeded the budget in travel and training and violated state statutes.

v Banning allegedly had allowed a construction project at Roosevelt Park without the proper appropriation by the council.

v Banning had interfered with the council’s legislative role by making changes to city code without council knowledge in violation of the city charter.

Banning denied all the allegations and said he was acting within his rights as mayor.

“I have not done anything illegal, unethical or otherwise intentionally improper during my term as mayor of Troy,” Banning said before the recall vote.

“I have certainly not violated my oath of office as proclaiming on the petition to recall me. Fran McCully and Heather McDougall’s intense dislike of me is the only reason for this recall effort.”

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