Metro Councilman Dan Johnson takes 90-day medical leave of absen - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Metro Councilman Dan Johnson takes 90-day medical leave of absence for 'severe neck pain'

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Hours after Louisville Metro Council began the process to remove Councilman Dan Johnson from office, Johnson said he's taking a 90-day medical leave of absence, effective immediately.

Johnson said he's suffering from "severe neck pain."

The announcement, however, comes just after five council members have formed what's called a charging committee. That committee has filed formal charges against Johnson. 

Formal charges call for the removal of Johnson from office for "misconduct, incapacity and willful neglect in the performance of his duties."

Metro Council Republican Caucus Director Stephen Haag said it's a bipartisan effort to remove Johnson.

"It will be three Democrats and two Republicans," he said. "That's consistent with how it's been done in the past. It's to show that this is a bipartisan issue."  

Five members of the charging committee spoke at a 3 p.m. news conference Thursday, including Councilwoman Jessica Green (District 1), Councilwoman Angela Leet (District 7), Councilman Brandon Coan (District 8), Councilman Rick Blackwell (District 12) and Councilman Robin Engel (District 22).

"It's not something that is being done for political gain or for any other reason other than the feeling that this needs to be investigated, and a decision as to the long-term involvement of Councilman Johnson on this council needs to be resolved," Haag said before the news conference.

Johnson is accused of sexual harassment. Councilwoman Jessica Green said Johnson grabbed her backside during a photo shoot. Johnson is also accused of exposing his backside to an aide to Metro Council member Angela Leet.

Councilwoman Leet says Johnson could have avoided the removal process but they will move forward regardless of his medical leave.

"While it was a very difficult decision to make ... we're unfortunately at this position where he has forced us to be because he chose not to resign as requested," Leet said. 

Last month, Johnson was expelled from the Democratic Caucus and told to resign by Aug. 1. He did not. So now, this five member committee will file charges.

The charges were read at Thursday night's Metro Council meeting. Ultimately, there will be a council trial. It would take a two-thirds vote of the entire Metro Council to remove Johnson from office.

Johnson has denied any intentional wrongdoing. He has served on either the Metro Council or the old Board of Aldermen since 1992.

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