(Posted Dec. 27, 2017)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
On Dec. 21, Joseph R. Russell presided over his first city council meeting since the city administration and Nick Adkins, chairman of the Republican Central Committee, asked him to step down as city council president. Russell has not resigned.
London Police arrested Russell for domestic violence on Sept. 10. In court on Dec. 11, he pled guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct and paid a fine and court costs.
In a press release dated Dec. 12, Mayor Patrick Closser stated, “A request has been made for the voluntary resignation of Mr. Russell of the position of London city council president.”
The release also stated, “The city of London does not condone any act of domestic violence or any derogatory, harassing or discriminatory statements. Actions of this kind will not be tolerated as they do not adhere to the high standard of our hometown of London, Ohio.”
Russell has continued to serve on council. Prior to opening the floor to audience concerns at the Dec. 21 council meeting, Russell stated the following:
“We are here to conduct the city’s business. We are not here to put my marriage or my personal life on trial… This is a private matter between my wife and I. It’s been resolved, and we look forward to moving on.”
Henry Comer, a newly elected council member who takes office in January, was among those who signed up to speak at the meeting.
“I’m here mostly to address your professional matter here as president of city council,” Comer said to Russell.
Comer said people in leadership positions need to ask themselves, “What type of leader am I going to be if I’m not being the best person that I can be.”
He also said, “You can’t be a strong, effective leader if you don’t have the trust and respect of the people.”