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Green Bay resident files petition to remove Mayor Schmitt from office

Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt (Photo courtesy City of Green Bay)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- A Green Bay resident filed a verified petition Thursday afternoon to have Mayor Jim Schmitt removed from office.

Scott Vanidestine filed the petition with the city clerk. Vanidestine is the President of the Wilder Park Neighborhood Association on Green Bay's east side.

“I just think what he's done, something has got to be done about it,” said Vanidestine.

In the verified removal petition, Vanidestine lists Schmitt's three recent campaign finance violation convictions as reasons Schmitt should lose his job. Vanidestine also believes state law is on his side.

“I talked with numerous different lawyers,” said Vanidestine. “They helped me kind of put it together, draft it.”

Chapter 17 of Wisconsin State Statutes is listed in the petition. The law reads city officers can be removed by the common council, for cause. Even then, three-fourths of the members would have to vote yes to make it happen.

According to Schmitt's defense attorney, Patrick Knight, the key word in the statute is cause. Under Chapter 17, cause is defined as inefficiency, neglect of duty, official misconduct, or malfeasance in office.

“None of this involved anything related to the performance of mayoral duties,” said Knight. “That's never been a consideration because quite frankly it can't happen.”

“The mayor's position is a 24-hour position,” said Vanidestine. “At what point do you say I'm not the mayor and I'm only a candidate?”

Schmitt's lawyer believes the city's attorney will see the law the same as he does, preventing any removal attempt.

The petition also lists Article 13 Section 3 of the Wisconsin Constitution. That provision prohibits anyone from holding public office if they've been convicted of a misdemeanor involving a violation of the public's trust. However, state elections officials have told FOX 11, that the law is impossible to enforce because the legislature has yet to define a violation of public trust.

Vanidestine also says under Wisconsin State Statute the criminal conviction should have disqualified Schmitt from being able to be mayor.

Wisconsin State Statute 12.60 2 (a), the statute Vanidestine points to in the petition reads 'if a successful candidate for public office, other than a candidate for the legislature or a candidate for national office, is adjudged guilty in a criminal action of any violation of this chapter under sub, (1) (a) committed during his or her candidacy, the court shall after entering judgement enter a supplemental judgement declaring a forfeiture of the candidate's right to office.

Lying to an election official is one of the criminal acts listed, which Schmitt was found guilty of on Monday.

Schmitt has not responded to FOX 11’s request for comment on the petition.

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