Centralia Mayor-Elect hires attorney amid residency qualification questions by city council

Centralia Mayor-Elect hires attorney amid residency qualification questions by city council

CENTRALIA — Centralia Mayor-Elect Bryan Kuder has announced due to the city’s current administration, he has been forced to hire an attorney and will not be able to answer questions at Monday night’s city council meeting.

Monday night’s agenda includes an item for discussing Kuder’s residency qualifications for mayor.

According to a letter from Kuder’s attorney Nicole Villani to city attorney Douglas Gruenke, the placement of that inquiry on the agenda was not finalized until Friday, April 19, which did not provide her client with sufficient notice.

Villani claims in her letter that “the council’s failure to provide reasonable notice of the timing, extent of the inquiry, and an adequate opportunity to respond to any allegations…” was at worst a violation of Kuder’s due process rights.

She continues in her letter to say the citizens of Centralia are entitled to see not only how the council “conducts business in the shadows” and that her client is entitled to notice of any evidence the council intends to present, “including but not limited to any surreptitious surveillance.”

City Manager Dan Ramey, who has recently announced his own resignation, has said that after the discussion, the city council could vote to block Kuder from being seated or take no action if they feel he is qualified.

Villani concludes her letter by stating “If this is an effort to side step the will of the voters by a vote of only three individuals declare a vacancy and oust the Mayor Elect, her firm “will take all legal and political action necessary to protect the rights and will of the Centralia electorate.”

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