Was it legal? Residents question how new Shepherdsville Mayor wa - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Was it legal? Residents question how new Shepherdsville Mayor was appointed

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Brian James was sworn in as the new mayor of Shepherdsville during a council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Brian James was sworn in as the new mayor of Shepherdsville during a council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016.
Councilmen Bernie Brown (right) and Larry Hatfield (left) walk out of the meeting Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in protest of the remaining council members' proceedings to appoint a new mayor that night. Councilmen Bernie Brown (right) and Larry Hatfield (left) walk out of the meeting Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in protest of the remaining council members' proceedings to appoint a new mayor that night.
The Shepherdsville City Council meeting held Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, shortly after the resignation of Mayor Scott Ellis. The Shepherdsville City Council meeting held Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, shortly after the resignation of Mayor Scott Ellis.

SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The quick appointment of a new Shepherdsville Mayor is raising questions by council members and residents.

Brian James, the husband of Councilwoman Dana Bischoff James, became the new Mayor of Shepherdsville after Scott Ellis resigned over a sex scandal Tuesday evening.

The three people who voted Brian James in office were his wife, Gloria Taft and Ashley Bratcher.

"There was a lot of people that did not like the way it was handled," Councilman Larry Hatfield said.

Councilmen Bernie Brown and Hatfield both walked out of the meeting wanting to wait on a vote.

When it comes to mayoral resignations, Kentucky law states, "The resignation shall be effective at the next regular or special meeting of the city legislative body occurring after the date specified in the written letter of resignation."

Which Hatfield says invalidates Tuesday night's proceedings. 

"If we don't get an answer from our city attorney, I'm going to try and get people together and file a lawsuit and get a judge to rule on it," Hatfield said.

He thinks there was a set-up to put James in office.

"I absolutely do. It all happened too quick, too fast. He resigned at 4 p.m. and 8 o'clock, we have a new mayor and I think the crowd -- the taxpayers -- saw that."

But city attorney Joe Wantland says what happened is legal. 

He says the next regular meeting was the same day and the council had a quorum since the voting started when all five council members were present, even if Brown and Hatfield walked out later. One councilman was on vacation.

James has no political experience, though he has previously run for Shepherdsville Mayor and lost. Nevertheless, he says he'll be in his new office on Thursday. 

Hatfield says voters will decide if James can keep the job in the November election.

"We are more or less giving him a head start. I don't think that's right," Hatfield said.

James says he doesn't even know how much he'll be getting paid for the Mayor job. His family owns Kart Kountry, which is considered a successful business in Shepherdsville.

"This has not been a quick decision. It has been discussed by all the council for at least the last 8 months," Councilwoman Taft said. "The people of Shepherdsville and the Governor need to know we have the ability to make good, sound decisions to put the past behind us.

"We have a new mall opening soon, we are building a road within the industrial park to help with the traffic issues. We are in the Governor's budget to receive a new interchange on I-65, the city has a business moving into the warehouse across from Lowe's and new business looking at the city daily," said Taft. 

James will be meeting with city employees and council members on Thursday and Friday.

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