Richwood Mayor Bob Henry Baber has filed a Motion to Dismiss the impeachment proceedings against him. The Richwood City Council voted to begin the process of removing the mayor back in December. Baber was served with a Resolution for Removal December 13, and now the case goes before a 3-panel judge.
In the notice, filed in Judge James Rowe’s courtroom, Baber outlines responses to the allegations against him. Baber disputes the charges of mal-administration, official misconduct and fiscal mismanagement. Baber argues the city’s purchasing card does not require council approval, and all travel or expenses were for city business. He also said anyone who used the purchasing card was approved to do so by the mayor’s office.
The Council said Baber forced the city clerk to delay paying payroll taxes, costing the city $87,000 in state tax and $500,000 in federal tax. Baber responded saying it would not be possible for this amount to have accrued in his 15 months in office, indicating any issue existed long before the Mayor was in office.
Baber is asking Judge Rowe to dismiss the petition to remove him from office, and to award him, “reasonable attorney fees and costs in being forced to defend an action caused by the vendetta of a disgruntled member of town council he defeated in the most recent mayoral election by a single vote.”
The hearing before Judge Rowe is set for January 17 at 10 a.m.
RICHWOOD – The Richwood City Council has started the process to remove Mayor Bob Henry Baber from office. Baber was on administrative leave after the council learned he was being investigated by the West Virginia Auditor’s Office. Thursday night the council voted to begin the proceedings to remove him on charges of Mal-administration, official misconduct and financial mismanagement.
City Council presented a series of charges against council stating in summary, “Baber is in violation of the Richwood City Charter. He is not faithfully executing the orders, bylaws, ordinances, acts and resolutions of the Council.”
Richwood’s Council argues Mayor Baber made purchases with the city’s “P-card” without Council approval including travel, a caterer and goods for the city. Councilmembers add that Baber did not provide receipts from these purchases in a timely manner.
Baber is also accused of hiring employees without authorization, and publicizing confidential matters from Executive Session on Facebook.
In regards to “official misconduct” the council alleges Baber colluded with vendors, encouraged council to fire an employee, tried to use city funds to establish a city 501(c)(3), paid himself unauthorized overtime, and submitting reimbursement for personal bills.
Under the section entitled “financial mismanagement,” council said Baber purchases $6,000 worth of promotional items for the city without prior approval, and directed the City Clerk to delay paying payroll taxes. Council said the later causes the city a tax liability of $311,807 in federal taxes and $57,000 in state taxes.