Ravenswood mayor facing no confidence vote

RAVENSWOOD – A vote of no confidence in the leadership of Ravenswood’s mayor has been scheduled for Tuesday night’s meeting of Ravenswood City Council.

The motion, which is being brought before council during its 7 p.m. meeting, is being brought forth against Mayor Michael Ihle by City Recorder Kathy Garrett, according to the mayor.

Ihle said some people in the city government have not liked some of the directions he has taken things in his time as mayor.

“I think some people are not used to change,” Ihle said. “They don’t believe in radical ideas like following the law.”

Ihle, who has been in office for 14 months, said that in his time as mayor he has discovered a number of problems with local ordinances and rules that contradict what is in state law.

He points to a situation recently when a distillery was trying to locate to Ravenswood. In researching matters, Ihle said he discovered that under state code, the city should have a planning commission and a separate board of zoning appeals. The city was operating a planning and zoning commission.

City officials have questioned why planning and zoning had to be separated with some believing it would be a waste of time to have the two separated.

However, Ihle said that is how the state code reads and that the city’s planning and zoning situation did not match up with state law.

After meeting with the city attorney and seeking the opinion from the State Ethics Commission, he took what he felt was appropriate action to fix the situation.

“Following state law is not optional,” he said. “I took an oath to uphold the law and to do what is lawful.”

Ihle said he had the city attorney explain his findings and had a representative from the ethics commission explain the situation to city officials. In taking a government class in school, he learned that local laws cannot override state laws.

“I have to do what the law tells me,” Ihle said.

The mayor said that was one of four to five issues some city officials have with him.

If the vote of no confidence is passed on Tuesday, it will have no impact on Ihle’s position. The vote does not allow for his removal from office and he will be able to finish out his current term and run for another if he wishes.

“I think it is insulting to the people who voted for me,” Ihle said.

He understands everyone in city government has a job to do and acknowledges there will be disagreements, but he said he would not pursue such an action against a member of council.

“It is not very productive,” Ihle said. “We should be concentrating on moving the town forward.”

City Councilwoman Sue Quillen said Sunday she was not sure what was happening. She got her agenda Friday and saw the item and could not really answer anything about it.

“I really don’t know that much about it,” she said.

She did confirm the item was being brought forth on the agenda by Garrett.

Attempts to contact Garrett Sunday were not successful and she could not be reached for comment.