City commission has ability to remove Danville’s mayor
Published 6:41 am Friday, October 25, 2019
By ELAINE WILSON-REDDY
“You can’t be the new Joyce because you don’t wear wigs and your skin is not as dark as hers.”
“These are our city’s cafeteria girls.”
“She’s not wearing socks.”
“I hear (female city employee) has her panties in a wad again. She won’t get a raise as long as I’m here.”
The above comments were made by City of Danville “mayor” Mike Perros to or about females who are either city employees or work in a professional capacity with the city. He thinks he’s funny. We know he isn’t. He has helped create a toxic culture in city hall where city employees are afraid to speak out for fear of being ostracized or having to endure harassing comments like “panties in a wad”.
The city commission heard from a group of concerned citizens at the last commission meeting. The citizens feel some action needs to be taken against “mayor” Perros for his continued harassment of women. The “mayor” recused himself and asked Mayor pro tem J.H. Atkins to preside over the Hear the Public comments.
As each person spoke out against Perros’s comments and behavior, he sat and stared at the speaker. His demeanor was that of someone who was irritated and annoyed to have to listen to those unworthy of his attention. He certainly wasn’t the least bit remorseful.
There was hope that the commission would take Perros to task in the executive session. We hoped Perros would at least be suspended without pay for a month or so. Unfortunately, the commission remained, and still remains, silent on Perros. From the outside looking in, it looks as if the commission condones the “mayor’s” actions. This silence also shows city employees that it’s okay with the commission for Perros to continue his harassment.
Here is something to ponder: The “mayor” has no real duties that other commissioners don’t share other than ceremonial duties. Why would he make the comment that a city employee wouldn’t get a raise as long as he was there? Deciding employee raises is definitely NOT within his scope of responsibilities. Does this mean he has influence on these decisions?
The city manager, Ron Scott, is who decides if an employee will receive a raise. The trick with our form of local government with a city manager and city commission is that the city manager must be able to maintain firm boundaries with the commissioners and the mayor. Commissioners and the mayor make decisions on who is approved to be hired and fired. They do not have the power or authority to influence who gets a raise.
Why would “mayor” Perros make that comment? Have the lines between city manager and the “mayor” been breached? If Perros felt confident in this instance, what other times has he crossed the line outside of his appointed duties?
There is a clear pattern of inappropriate and harassing behavior with “mayor” Perros. It is clear he feels assured in his privilege to say whatever he wants since there has been zero accountability for him.
Perros probably thinks this is over. He likely assumes this will eventually pass and be a minor annoyance on the radar of his past.
He is wrong.
Kentucky Revised Statute 83A.040(9) states: “Except in cities of the first class, any elected officer, in case of misconduct, incapacity, or willful neglect in the performance of the duties of his office, may be removed from office by a unanimous vote of the members of the legislative body exclusive of any member to be removed, who shall not vote in the deliberation of his removal.”
The city commission can vote to fire “mayor” Perros for misconduct. It would take a unanimous vote to oust him which isn’t impossible. That would mean Mayor pro tem Atkins, Commissioners Denise Terry, Rick Serres, and Kevin Caudill would all have to go on the record to vote yay or nay on Perros’s conduct.
We haven’t forgotten. This is not going to disappear quietly. We are going to keep reminding him and the commission of his harassing behavior. We are tired of the Good Old Boys Club that allows ignorant public officials to say whatever they want with impunity. We are starting with the city and have the county fiscal court on the list as well.
It is time to remove the old, white privileged dinosaurs from our local government bodies and replace them with citizens who are committed to serving the community in a manner that makes us proud of their representation.
Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance. — J. Donald Walters
Elaine Wilson-Reddy, JD, is a professional educator, consultant and advocate. She lives in Danville.