Villa Hills Mayor Mike Martin threatens to arrest residents who disrupt council meetings

Mayor bars council meeting disruptions

VILLA HILLS, Ky. - A Northern Kentucky mayor is trying to make several changes to the way his city operates, including threatening to arrest anyone who disrupts a city council meeting.

Villa Hills Mayor Mike Martin is expected to read an executive order at Wednesday's caucus meeting "directing either Villa Hills Police Chief Goodenough or any other police officer to be present for every scheduled city council and caucus meeting and to enforce the laws of the Commonwealth when present."

Those laws include disrupting meetings and processions in the second degree, disorderly conduct in the second degree, inciting to riot, unlawful assembly, riot in the second degree, failure to disperse and harassment.

The changes come after a March 20 council meeting turned into a shouting match. Concerned citizens armed with signs and strong opinions showed up to the city council meeting expecting to be able to voice their opinions on a controversial plan to merge its police force with another city's department. However, Martin quickly informed people in attendance that public comment on that topic would not be heard during the event.

The controversy is the latest in Martin's troubled history in the Northern Kentucky community. In May 2012, Martine faced criminal charges after an investigation found that he burned city documents and violated ethics ordinances. Also, Martin performed electrical work in Kentucky without the proper license, which is a misdemeanor in the Bluegrass state.

Despite many residents' calls to remove Martin as mayor, city council decided to allow him to serve out the rest of his term after they failed to vote unanimously following his three day removal hearing in October 2012. Martin's term goes through Jan. 1, 2014.

Also during Wednesday's meeting, the mayor is expected to present an ordinance to change the dates and times of council meetings.

Martin wants to move scheduled meetings from the first and third Wednesdays of each month to the second and fourth Wednesdays. He also wants to move the time from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Martin also wants a new city attorney.

Another executive order expected to be read and signed Wednesday states, "Effective January 3, 2013, Todd V. McMurtry an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and in good standing with the Bar is hereby appointed to serve as the City Attorney for Villa Hills, Kentucky."

It's unclear if the date listed on the executive order is a typo, or if McMurtry is already serving as the city attorney.

McMurtry was Martin's personal attorney during his removal hearing held last year.

Council members do not vote on executive orders.

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