Tonight’s city council meeting in Cedar Falls may include a strange happening.
According to the agenda, there will be a resolution to approve the recommendation of mayor Robert Green to proceed with consideration of the removal of a Planning and Zoning Commissioner.
LeaAnn Saul is the member the mayor wants to remove.
It is one of 17 resolutions. According to the agenda, all 17 will be acted upon by roll call vote on a single motion without separate discussion, unless someone from the council or public requests a specific item be considered separately.
However, that doesn’t appear to be the case. The Iowa Standard has learned that Kevin Rogers, the city attorney, said it was decided not to have public input on the agenda item involving Saul. Instead, Rogers wrote that Saul or her attorney would be given the opportunity to present her case at a later, appropriate time.
Green, the mayor, has cited two factors in removing Saul as a commissioner.
Green said that Saul publicly made false statements against an elected official and about city operations by falsely claiming on her LeaAnn for Cedar Falls Facebook page that Green has personally been working with two other activists to “push” a mask mandate petition on Cedar Falls residents and that the Cedar Falls Police have been ordered to photograph youth activities and churches to determine who is and isn’t wearing a mask.
Saul acknowledges she posted the following:
“FYI, the CF mask mandate is trying to get pushed through by Mayor Green, Joyce Coil and Dee Vandeventer – who are sending out a petition via Facebook. The CFPD was asked to go out and take photos of youth sports practices and churches to prove, or disprove, they weren’t wearing masks with the goal of shutting them down…”
In a letter from Corey Lorenzen, Saul’s attorney, it says that Saul is personally aware that this is the second time Green has used the authority of his office to attempt to force a political opponent from the planning and zoning commission.
“Mayor Green is approaching a slippery slope if he attempts to quiet all political opponents appointed to City positions if they dare to contest any of his actions,” the letter says. “The council and mayor would be setting a dangerous precedent if they take such action against Ms. Saul.”
While Green says the statements Saul made are false, Saul “emphatically” denies they are false. She was provided information from a “credible source” that statements made on her page are true.
“The question for Mayor Green is whether he denies such allegations,” the letter states. “Ms. Saul is prepared to present evidence that these statements are, indeed, true.”
Even if the statements were false, Saul’s attorney questions if they rise to the level of “just cause” for her to be removed from the commission.
“There is absolutely nothing in the statements made on Ms. Saul’s Facebook page which in any way conceivable arise to the level of ‘just cause’ for her removal,” the letter says. “She simply shared that the mayor and two other members of the city were attempting to push a mask mandate, and that the CFPD was asked to take photos of youth practices and church services. Again, even if not true (which Ms. Saul adamantly denies), this statement in no way significantly or adversely impacts her role as a member of the planning and zoning commission. Mayor Green’s allegation fails to meet the ‘just cause’ standard.
“The only way a finding to the contrary can be made is if the council is politically motivated to remove Ms. Saul from the Planning and Zoning Commission, which is unconstitutional.”