The censure of Councilor Jenny Van Sickle will stand after the Superior City Council voted to overturn the mayor’s veto.
Mayor Jim Paine had vetoed the measure immediately following a 6-4 split June 18 to censure Van Sickle for comments posted on Twitter concerning a legal opinion rendered by City Attorney Frog Prell.
Councilors voted 8-2 to overturn the veto Tuesday, July 2. Seven votes were needed to overturn the veto.
Councilors Tylor Elm and Warren Bender, who opposed the censure, both voted to overturn the veto.
Bender said his decision was threefold. First, he said the legal advice Prell has provided the city over the years has never steered the Council wrong. He said after voting against the censure, he received numerous emails and text messages encouraging him “to do the right thing.” And for him, the right thing was following the civility program the city adopted under former Mayor Dave Ross, “Speak Your Peace.”
“I still respect free speech,” Elm said. For him, overturning the veto was a question of the legality of mayor vetoing non-legislative actions of the Council.
Council President Brent Fennessey raised the question because a mayor’s veto power is limited to legislative actions, which the censure was not. He said the Council could seek a legal opinion on the matter, but his hope was the Council would just vote to override the veto Tuesday to put the issue to rest so they could move forward.
Councilors Dan Olson, Jack Sweeney, Fennessey, Craig Sutherland, Keith Kern and Esther Dalbec also voted to overturn the veto. Councilors Van Sickle and Ruth Ludwig voted against it.
“I have not acted immorally or illegally, but I am very clearly aware of the hurt that I’ve caused … I’m not particularly proud of that,” Van Sickle said. However, she said she will not let the censure deter her from her work representing the city’s 2nd District.