Infighting in Ellisville Now About City Attorney Applicants
ELLISVILLE, Mo. (KMOX) – The saga in Ellisville is ongoing and this latest installment surrounds the search for a City Attorney.
KMOX reported last week that Mayor Adam Paul’s defense attorney, Chet Pleban, applied for the position, much to the surprise of Ellisville Councilman Matt Pirrello, who is still being sued by Paul, who is represented by Pleban.
Former City Attorney Paul Martin was shown the door in a closed-door meeting late last month. He was previously accused of orchestrating Paul’s impeachment and, more recently, of threatening a council member in regards to a Walmart-related vote.
Paul was removed from office by the Ellisville City Council in April and then was reinstated as mayor by a St. Louis County Circuit Court judge in June. The impeachment effort was seen by many as led by Pirrello, a former mayor and “Mayor Pro Tem” after Paul’s ouster.
Pirrello, breaking the silence he has maintained since the Mayor’s reinstatement, tells KMOX News that Pleban should never become City Attorney, due to conflicts of interest.
“He still has pending litigation against an acting member of the council (Pirrello) and the City Manager as well as the former City Attorney and a resident. So how that’s not a conflict of interest I guess I’m just not clear,” Pirrello said.
In an attempt to clean up the city’s image, Pirrello says he wants an attorney who “doesn’t even know where Ellisville is.”
Paul defended Pleban’s nomination last Wednesday.
“Outside looking in, I guess it could be perceived as a conflict,” Paul said, adding, “If I could unilaterally make a decision, I would always hire Chet Pleban. For the rest of my life.”
Pirrello, meantime, tells KMOX that he isn’t going anywhere, despite previous promises to resign should the Mayor’s impeachment be ruled invalid.
“Had a judge come in and said ‘yeah, what the city did was wrong. Adam Paul didn’t do anything illegal,’ then I would’ve resigned,” Pirrello explained. “But a judge never said that.”
He also vowed to attend all meetings going forward, after having skipped a trio of town halls and a couple of council meetings.
“The town hall meetings were scheduled at times when I was unable to make it due to work,” he said. “I can’t just take off work anytime to attend meetings.”
City Attorney interviews are likely to be part of the next few council gatherings, and Pirrello said he hopes to learn whether Paul encouraged Pleban to apply for the job.
“There’s probably a charter violation in there somewhere, in that Adam Paul had a conversation with Chet Pleban long before there was an application. I don’t think that’s appropriate,” he said.
The councilman added: “All I can say is that it’s incomprehensible. I don’t know how to respond to these things anymore.”
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