With 33% of its members facing federal charges, where does the Toledo City Council go from here?

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 9:46 PM EDT
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How can Toledo City Council continue to function while four of its members, Larry Sykes, Yvonne Harper, Gary Johnson and Tyrone Riley, are being criminally charged?

Tuesday's scheduled 4 p.m. meeting was canceled but Toledo's legislative branch can and will be able to operate but likely under rare circumstances.

13abc political analyst Melissa Miller, said, "According to the Toledo City charter, a quorum, meaning the minimum numbers of members present to take a vote on any matter of business is six."

So laws can be presented and voted upon and the judge in this case said all four members can continue to serve on council but the pressure for each to resign will likely continue to mount with each passing day. In fact, Tuesday, Lucas County Democratic Party Chair Michael Ashford urged the four democratic council members to resign.

"If they do not it will just be ongoing attention. Every council meeting the attention will be focused on those four. It will just give it, the scandal, legs," Miller suggested.

According to the Charter of the City of Toledo, chapter IV, Section 35: Council shall determine its own rules and order of business, and shall keep a journal of its proceedings. It may punish or expel any member for disorderly conduct or violation of its rules No expulsion shall take place without the concurrence of two-thirds of all members elected, nor until the delinquent member shall have been notified of the charge against him or her, and shall have been given an opportunity to be heard.

If one or all four members resign, then council can appoint members as placeholders until an election can take place.

"The political ramifications of this should not be understated. It's an election year, not in city council. Those members are elected in odd years. It's an even year but it's a presidential election so I think not just Lucas County democrats but democratic officials around the state are concerned about such a high profile scandal of not just one but four democratic elected officials in Lucas County," Miller said.