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Judge removes mayor at council's request
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Jeff Northway is out as mayor of Springfield, following a judge's ruling filed Monday.
Judge William Woodrum, in a six-page order, sided with the city council members who filed a petition in November to have Northway removed. Four council members, represented by attorney Mickey Kicklighter, and Northway were in a three-day proceeding from July 6-8.
"We were surprised by the decision," said Charles Herman of Bignault and Carter, Northway's lead counsel in the matter.
Herman said Northway plans to appeal the decision.
"He's very disappointed," Herman said of his client's reaction upon learning he was removed from office by the judge's order.
Woodrum wrote that "there is complete and substantial evidence on the record as a whole in support of the Petitioner's Petition for Removal." In his order, the judge said Northway's credibility was called into question by his inconsistent testimony.
He also said the record "reveals multiple instances of misconduct" by Northway and that the evidence supports a finding that Northway lacks "the administrative ability to perform his public duties."
The judge wrote that council allegations that the mayor had tried to benefit from his position were not supported. Also not supported was an allegation of sexual harassment for allowing a lap dance between city employees at a function on city property.
With the judge's decision, Jeff Ambrose, the mayor pro tem, will serve as mayor. Ambrose presided over the July 26 city council meeting, which would have been Northway's last as mayor.

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