GREEN BAY, WI -- The Green Bay City Council has voted to approve hiring a third-party attorney for legal advice in the wake of a citizen petition, calling for Mayor Jim Schmitt's removal from office.
It was a 7-5 vote that first came with much discussion on whether utilizing the current city attorney for advice on the matter would be a "conflict of interest" for attorney Vanessa Chavez.
Aldermen supporting the petition say the city should attain a third party attorney to review the city's options in this "unprecedented" case.
The man behind the petition calling for Schmitt's removal is Green Bay neighbor Scott Vanidestine.
He says the mayor lost the public's trust, and the city should go forward with figuring out its legal options with an outside attorney.
"If I would've done it, or you would've done it in your job, you would've, number one, probably be in jail," says Vanidestine, "and number two, you would've lost your job."
He says he's pleased with the vote, and hopes city leaders can begin searching for third-party council ASAP.
During Tuesday's hearing, both alderman Randy Scannell and city attorney Chavez stated they do not feel Chavez would pose as a conflict of interest in any investigation.
"I think it's a good communication. I think this should be addressed," says Scannell, "but, I'm not as worried about our city attorney's abilities, or any conflict of interest. But, it is a very murky area we're going into. It's never been done before."
Mayor Schmitt's attorney has stated there are "no legal grounds to remove Schmitt" and is calling for the petition to be dismissed.
Schmitt's attorney adds, if the council proceeds with investigation their options, the city will incur "needless financial harm."
Right before the Council took up the petition discussion Tuesday night, Mayor Schmitt wished everyone present a Merry Christmas, and left the chamber.