Kentucky City Sues Its Mayor

SOMERSET, Ky. (AP) - This south-central Kentucky city is suing its own mayor for allegedly promoting political supporters while alienating those who opposed him in last fall's election.

The town of Somerset filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Mayor, Eddie Girdler, after the city council voted 10-2 on Monday night to pursue the lawsuit.

"Mayor Girdler has shown a general and flagrant disregard for the ordinances of the city, the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and has such has caused damage to the city, city employee and the citizens of Somerset," the lawsuit said.

According to the suit, Girdler circumvented city policy by hiring a city attorney and a police chief without getting the approval of the city council; created jobs within the police department that the city rules don't recognize and has hired or promoted people who helped him gain election last fall.

Girdler had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.

Attorney Daniel G. Yeast, who is representing the city, said employees who didn't support Girdler in the election are in "serious disfavor."

City councilman John Ricky Minton said the council felt it had no choice but to sue Girdler because of the mayor's continued disregard for the council and the city's laws.

"One time he smarted off to us and said, 'I love a good fight,"' Minton said. "There's no working with this man."

Girdler, who took office on Jan. 1 in the town 80 miles south of Lexington, said he has worked hard to make the transition of power as seamless as possible.

The lawsuit claims Girdler is trying to get the city's water park shut down by not having lifeguards trained and ready for the summer. The water park was a key project under former Mayor J.P. Wiles.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction barring Girdler from hiring anyone the council is required to approve but hasn't, and from splitting the fire department and medical services.

The lawsuit also wants Girdler to reimburse the city for salaries paid to people he hired against the rules and to repay the city for any grant or incentive money lost because of his actions.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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