Last week, Indianapolis City-County Council President Stephen Clay fired three staff members, including legal counsel Fred Biesecker and staff clerk NaTrina DeBow.
On Thursday morning DeBow, along with a number of councillors, filed a lawsuit against Clay alleging the firings were illegal.
The lawsuit states that Clay violated state law when he terminated staff members without the authority of the full council. It also seeks to allow the staff to continue doing their job until successors are chosen.
Clay’s actions, the lawsuit says, have “thrown the Council into chaos,” preventing it from performing its public business.
Clay has made allegations of his own concerning the staff members who he fired, saying earlier this week that DeBow and another staffer recieved illegitimate pay raises under the previous Council President Maggie Lewis. And Clay publically raised questions about a possible cover up.
On Wednesday Council Democrats expelled Clay from their caucus, the culmination of multiple controversies surrounding Clay’s election last month.
Clay defeated incumbent Democrat Maggie Lewis earlier this month. He promptly removed certain Democrats from committees and replaced them with Republicans who helped him win. As a result many view his election as a strategic maneuver, guided more by self-interest than earnest political aspirations.
Removal from the caucus means Clay will no longer be a part of the Democrats’ strategy meetings. But he will still have a vote at full council meetings.
The council decided to vote on removing Clay as president – that decision is scheduled for Feb. 19.