VALLEY PARK (KMOX) - Embattled Mayor Nathan Grellner resigned Thursday.
The news broke during an emergency council meeting, although he was not in attendance. He met with interim City Attorney Tim Engelmeyer earlier in the day to sign the letter.
“It was a surprise that it came tonight,” alderwoman Rita Collins said.
“It’s long overdue. He should’ve stepped down immediately,” resident Anita Albright told KMOX after the meeting. ”It would’ve saved the city a lot of grief. A lot of heartache.”
Grellner, in addition to reportedly being treated for meth use, was arrested for D.U.I. and accused of spitting on an officer, skipped six months of board meetings and during one of them he swiped the city credit card at a strip club. He also used the card to buy appliances, but returned them allegedly at City Attorney Eric Martin’s urging.
Martin was suspended at the last meeting.
“Recent personal issues that have cast a negative light on both the City and my family have caused a tremendous amount of undue stress on the people and the City that I care about,” Grellner wrote in his resignation letter.
A forensic audit into Grellner’s tenure as mayor continues. Attorney Chet Pleban will present the results of his investigation at the board’s August 6th meeting.
“This is a very tough town. We’ve been through fires and floods, sometimes three in a year,” Collins said after the meeting. ”I think we’ll pick up the pieces and move forward and we hope that the mayor does that as well.”
President of the Board of Alderman Mike Penisse takes on the duties of the mayor. Alderwoman Betty Halker said the board would select an interim mayor, with a special election in April.
“I think Nathan has done what’s right for the City,” ald. Collins said. “Now I hope he does.what’s right for himself.”