FOREST PARK — Forest Park city attorneys are recommending that ethics complaints filed against the Forest Park mayor be dismissed.
In August, Kimberly James filed an ethics complaint against Mayor Corine Deyton. In the complaint, James accused Deyton of violation of office, failure to perform powers and duties as mayor and violation of the city’s declaration of policy.
Forest Park city attorneys Robert L. Mack Jr. and Joe M. Harris Jr. have prepared a preliminary analysis for the Forest Park Board of Ethics.
“The analysis says the complaint fails to allege a violation of the code of ethics and for that and other reasons it says that the complaint should be dismissed and that is the recommendation made in the preliminary analysis,” Harris said.
The Forest Park Board of Ethics is scheduled to meet Monday, Oct. 8, at 5:30 p.m., at City Hall in the council chambers. The meeting is open to the public.
“That is when they will consider the complaint and the preliminary analysis,” Harris said. “The ethics complaint has been sent to the city of Forest Park Board of Ethics, they were also sent a preliminary analysis.”
Harris explained the ethics board could decide they need more information, or they could dismiss the complaint.
“The city ordinance states once they receive the complaint and the attorneys’ analysis, they have 30 days to respond,” Harris added.
Harris said the ethics board could make a decision on Oct. 8.
“I expect them to make a decision and announce the decision at the Oct. 8 meeting,” he said.
In her ethics complaints, James said Deyton did not “well and truly perform the duties of the office of Mayor,” May 4 through Aug. 28 because during that time, Deyton took a temporary leave of absence without a return date specified. She said the mayor received monthly compensations during her absence.
City attorneys wrote in their preliminary analysis that taking a leave of absence, paid or unpaid, is not a violation of the Code of Ethics nor is it a violation of Deyton’s oath of office. They said Deyton has never been entirely absent from her duties as mayor from May 4 to date.
The city attorneys said during the time in question Deyton was at City Hall two to three times a week to meet with city staff, regarding city business, and to participate in making city administrative decisions.
“For those reasons, it is erroneous to state that Mayor Deyton has been compensated for a service not rendered,” according to the city attorneys’ preliminary analysis.
“On Aug. 16, after I expressed possible concerns that our mayor may have memory impairments that could be taken advantage of, she submitted a letter taking a temporary leave of absence,” James said in her second ethics complaint. She said Deyton had not presided at city council meetings, nor had she administrated affidavits during executive closed door sessions, nor signed approved ordinances, or resolutions as well as performed other lawful duties.
The city attorneys said in the analysis the second ethics complaint “does nothing more than repeat the first ethics complaint.”
“Corine Deyton has been taking a temporary leave for personal stress but has received personal gain as she continues to be compensated for a service not rendered,” James said in her third ethics complaint. “Public confidence in the integrity of our city government is in question due to conflicting information the citizens have received concerning Mayor Deyton’s leave of absence.”
The city attorneys said vacations, sick leaves of absence, pensions, and similar benefits are considered by the courts to be earned compensation, which means that even if the mayor had been entirely absent since May 4, 2012, she has not been compensated for a service not rendered.