Senior staff writer
Shara Hostetler has filed an injunction to block the Southport City Council’s action last month that removed her as council president.
Appointed to the council by the Republican Party in 2016 and then elected president, Hostetler explained that the council had no cause to demote her. She has contended that the council’s action was vindictive. She filed a lawsuit in federal court against the city earlier this year alleging that her constitutional rights had been violated by Southport police in searching her home in 2015, when she was a candidate for city clerk-treasurer.
The council advanced a revised ordinance Monday that calls for the council to elect or remove the council president “at the pleasure of the council” by majority vote.
Hostetler contended Monday that if there was nothing wrong with the existing ordinance or their action to remove her, then why is the ordinance being revised.
First reading of the ordinance was advanced by a 3-2 vote with Councilors James Cooney, Joe Haley and Kenny Winslow voting in favor. Councilor Larry Tungent called the revision “a piece of trash.”
“I will not support backtracking and changing the law after the fact,” Hostetler said. “The injunction is to uphold the rule of law for the city.”
By vote of 3-1-1, the council voted Monday to censure Hostetler, who abstained from voting, saying that “it wouldn’t make any difference anyway.” Tungent cast the nay vote.
Haley made the motion to censure, claiming that Hostetler showed arrogance toward the city and her conduct was detrimental to the council. Last month the council handed down a 3-2 vote of no confidence against Hostetler.
Residents expressed disappointment and heartbreak over the arguing and bickering among councilors.
Former longtime Southport Clerk-Treasurer Marilyn Mayfield told the audience that the city is being torn apart by the recent controversies among the all-Republican council. “I’m beginning to think I’m living in Washington D.C.,” she said.