Galesburg City Council takes no action on removing city manager during special meeting Monday

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 1:52 AM CDT
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GALESBURG, Ill. (KWQC) - Residents packed the Galesburg City Council Chambers for a special meeting Monday night.

Alderpeople Heather Acerra, Wayne Dennis, Bradley Hix and Evan Miller called the meeting on Friday afternoon. The move drew controversy as it included a vote to remove City Manager Gerald Smith.

The agenda also included discussion and potential action for the council to retain “Independent Legislative Counsel.”

According to the discussion, Acerra contacted the law firm Ancel Glink to provide legal support to the council.

It was determined the item on the agenda was a first reading. The second reading and vote are expected to take place at the June 5 meeting.

At the start of the meeting, the council decided to remove the discussion and possible action to remove City Manager Gerald Smith from the agenda.

Mayor Peter Schwartzman then moved public comment to the beginning of the meeting. Residents spoke for about two hours, many in support of Smith.

“A number of people are saying this has nothing to do actually with Mr. Smith’s performance but is instead based on the ideology of a few council members,” one resident said.

Schwartzman called the action reckless. He claims he found out about the meeting at the last minute.

“This came as a shock to me,” Schwartzman said. “I have not heard complaints about our legal counsel. I have heard some rumblings about our city manager — nothing to the extent that would require removal.”

The council wrapped up the meeting in a closed executive session to discuss matters of employment.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Acerra responded to the mayor’s claims.

Members did not say whether or not a new discussion or vote would take place on Smith’s removal.