Ravenswood council tables mayor motion

RAVENSWOOD – Ravenswood City Council voted 6-0 Tuesday night to table a motion calling for a vote of no confidence in Mayor Michael Ihle for three months to see if the mayor and city council can work together for the betterment of the city.

Before the issue was discussed, Ihle read a prepared statement, excused himself from conducting the meeting and left the room.

In his statement, he said City Recorder Kathy Garrett had brought forth a “slew of half-baked accusations” that contained a “grain of truth” in that a vote of no confidence possesses no legal standing.

”To be blunt, this motion serves only to air dirty laundry over personal differences,” the mayor said. ”I find it deeply insulting on a personal level.

”Worse, it is unnecessary and embarrassing to everyone involved. It serves as a distraction from the important issues facing Ravenswood. This is a political stunt to create more drama and more controversy.”

He said it showed that council had no confidence in the citizens of Ravenswood.

”It is nothing new,” Ihle said. ”I am the most recent target in a series of trumped up gossip.

”The people of Ravenswood are intelligent to know what is going on here. They have seen the bickering and the infighting.”

All of these things have caused businesses to pack up and leave and others deciding to locate elsewhere, Ihle said.

Ihle said he was willing to put things behind him and move forward for the betterment of the city.

”I am not without fault and I freely admit it,” Ihle said. ”I overthink things which causes delays in taking action.

”I often don’t connect well with people on a personal level, but perhaps my biggest flaw has been to carry out my lawful duties as Ravenswood chief executive officer.”

In an emotionally charged meeting the city’s leadership laid out its problems with Ihle’s leadership.

Garrett said on numerous occasions the mayor acted without the input of council and, at times, when its approval was needed. He ignored their concerns and the concerns of different citizens and city employees, she said.

The mayor repeatedly acted on his own in hiring personnel, he forced the city pool to open when there was a health concern over the past summer, altered holiday schedules without council approval, gave days off to employees at the local pool during one of the hottest days of the summer, continually had a rented backhoe on standby while the city paid for it, threatened employees with termination or reprimands and more, city officials said.

”We have got some problems we have tried to solve, but it fell on deaf ears,” Garrett said of council wanting to engage the mayor about some of his actions. ”He has yet to accept our hand.”

Garrett said the city elected six other people to help run the city.

”Businesses have chief executive officers, but they also have boards of directors and that is what we are,” she said.

Councilman Gary Cross said council needs to remain in the loop.

”We need to know what is going on,” he said.

Councilmen Jared Bloxton and Judy Wiseman offered to resign from council, but both said they would remain to see if things can improve.

More than 50 people from the public attended the meeting. Many said they have heard many of these arguments with past councils and mayors.

Others said that Ihle was young and needed some guidance in being able to run the city with people urging council to find a way to work with the mayor and calling on the mayor to work with council.