Villa Hills City Council moves forward with plans to remove mayor from office

VILLA HILLS, Ky. - The job of a Northern Kentucky mayor is on the line.

The long process to remove Villa Hills Mayor Mike Martin from office started at Wednesday night's council meeting after an investigation uncovered that Martin burned city documents and violated ethics ordinances. In the next few weeks, council members will vote on whether or not they'll have a removal hearing to kick Martin out of office.

At the beginning of the meeting, an executive session was called. All six councilmembers met in private for more than an hour.

After the executive session, Councilman Greg Kilburn made a motion to set a removal hearing for the mayor within 60 days. The motion was based on what was discussed in the executive session, among other things.

Martin is already facing criminal charges. The city of Villa Hills hired local attorney Phil Taliaferro to conduct a special investigation into the mayor's ethics. The results of Taliaferro's investigation were released in May, and found Martin burned city documents and violated ethics ordinances.

The investigation also found Martin performed electrical work in Kentucky without the proper license, which is a misdemeanor in the Bluegrass state.

In June, Villa Hills city leaders voted to turn Martin into the Kenton County Attorney's Office.

At the recommendation of attorneys, council members tabled the motion to vote on a removal hearing at Wednesday's meeting. City Attorney Mike Duncan informed the city leaders the charges against Martin must be made public before a hearing could be set. Taliaferro recommended the city leaders to wait another 30 days before voting on a removal hearing.

Villa Hills leaders are planning to vote on a removal hearing to oust the mayor at a special meeting being held in the next few weeks, according to information obtained by 9 News. The special meeting is regarding the Villa Hills tax rate, but council members are planning on putting the vote for a removal hearing on the agenda of the special meeting.

A majority of council must vote yes for a removal hearing to be scheduled. If the hearing is held, all six council members must vote yes in order to remove Martin from office.

Several council members have previously asked Martin to resign. The mayor has repeatedly told city leaders and 9 News that he won't step down from office.

Stay with 9 News and for updates on this story.

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