ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KSDK) – A St. Louis County Circuit Court judge ruled Thursday afternoon that the embattled Wellston mayor can no longer serve in that position.
Linda Whitfield, who was impeached by Wellston City Council in March and then re-elected just a few weeks later, has been ordered to vacate the seat, according to the injunction.
Prior to the impeachment, the city council approved a measure stating that no one who had been impeached could serve in the same position.
Whitfield had been impeached over accusations of unethical behavior.
On Tuesday, Judge Richard Bresnahan heard arguments in the case with the city attorney stating that Whitfield had no case because of the ordinance. Whitfield's attorney said the ordinance was unconstitutional and "retrospective" since it was passed after Whitfield filed to be on the ballot for mayor.
Judge Bresnahan ruled the Wellston ordinance is valid and said that it didn't violate any Missouri state laws, according to court documents. The city council will be allowed to fill the office according to its laws.
For some in this town they are breathing a sigh of relief. They say Whitfield has been the root of their problems, including the police chief who has been fired so many times he can't remember.
"I've lost count, definitely three times, and suspended two or three times," said Chief G. Thomas Walker.
He says he's never been given a reason for the firings, but he's elated Linda Whitfield has been kicked out of office. Just last week Whitfield fired the chief, Thursday he went back to the department to retrieve his badge and found a councilwoman questioning his actions.
"Well we will vote again, chief, you are not going to get paid for it," said councilwoman Dixon.
"Same threats that I've been getting all the time," said the chief.
He says for the past several months he and his department have been held back on certain investigations.
"When you have city officials that have relatives that have been involved in drug trafficking it makes it difficult to get the things that we need to fight the problem," said the chief.
The ruling says Whitfield is no longer the mayor and the city of Wellston has to pay a $2,000 bond, which is an issue.
"The only signer on the bank accounts is the mayor, so we have a dilemma, but it's a small dilemma compared to what we've had to go through," says council member Linda Garner.
"We all work together, these people really want to see Wellston cleaned up, we've been a unit and we will remain a unit," says the chief.
Whitfield did not return our phone call.
The council will hold an emergency meeting to elect a new mayor sometime next week.