What Fresh Hell Is This?

June 14, 2006

Carlisle Impeachment Drive Launched

It takes only 20 signatures from registered voters in a Pittsburgh City Council district to launch impeachment proceedings against a council member. According to today's Post-Gazette, Homewood resident Phillip Martin began circulating his impeachment petition against Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle in the morning and had 17 signers by lunch that same day.

The P-G also reports:

The process involves Common Pleas Court, an investigative committee and, if the court approves, a hearing before other members of council. Council has never held an impeachment hearing.

"I don't know what grounds there would be," said Ms. Carlisle. She said she would not say more without seeing the petition.


The city charter says an elected official can be removed from office for "mental incapacity, incompetency, neglect of duty malfeasance, mismanagement or for any corrupt act or practice."

Any impeachment petition goes to Common Pleas Court, where a judge rules on whether it sets forth "reasonable grounds" for an official's removal from office. If so, the court appoints an investigating committee that crafts a written report.

If the report finds that there are grounds for removal, the president judge of Common Pleas Court presides over a session of council in which the members decide the guilt or innocence of the accused. The solicitor serves as prosecutor.

The most recent council impeachment effort occurred in 1997, when residents tried to oust then-Councilman Joseph Cusick, who had drug and alcohol problems and was accused of misspending. Common Pleas Judge Robert E. Dauer dismissed that petition.

Ms. Carlisle is up for reelection next year.

Full story HERE.

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