St. Robert Mayor George Sanders was found not guilty of the four of 13 impeachment charges remaining against him Wednesday afternoon.

St. Robert Mayor George Sanders was found not guilty of the four of 13 impeachment charges remaining against him Wednesday afternoon.

Articles three, four, five, and 13 remained after the other 10 were dropped by the St. Robert Board of Aldermen in May.

In the final day of proceedings, it was the mayor's turn to call witnesses and his attorney, Michael Berr, only called Debra Moore.

Berry handed Moore her own hand written notes and numerous copies of emails that she had written to the special investigator that she and Sanders had hired to investigate the fire department pointing to the instances where she had referred to expecting a written report from White.

After Moore's testimony, both sides were able to give their closing arguments and the board went into deliberations. The board deliberated between 45 minutes and an hour in open session while the group sitting in the Municpal Center's courtroom waited to hear the verdict.

It required a vote of six out of eight board members to vote yes that Sanders was guilty on any one of the articles of impeachment in order for Sanders to be impeached. No article received more than five votes.

As the verdict was announced the group of onlookers in the courtroom cheered and gave a standing ovation.

Sanders was visibly moved to tears by the outcome and told the Daily Guide he was “relieved” it was all over. People lined up to congratulate Sanders as the room began to clear, but Sanders took some time to answer questions with the media once the well-wishers dispersed.

When asked what he wanted the citizens of St. Robert to know, Sanders said, “I'd like them to know that I'm not a lier, not a cheater, and I will never lie to them and I work for their best interests because I always said that St. Robert is a community of prosperity and energy because without the citizens of this community we wouldn't be where we are today. And without the citizens of this community I would not be free today and I thank them for that.”

Sanders said he felt the city leadership could come out of this experience and still work together. “I think we can (work together), if we can put ourselves together and put the interest on the city and not on individuals,” Sanders said.

In his interview with the Daily Guide about the articles of impeachment, Sanders said he didn't think he would be able to work with city attorney Debra Moore again. When asked if that was still true, Sanders said, “I still feel that way. You have to be comfortable working with people. I just feel that the trust I had in her and the trust that I felt she had in me is not there. I will still reach out my hand, if I don't reach out in harmony then I'll never know.”

Sanders said he would be back in his office on Monday because his wife will be undergoing chemotherapy treatments Thursday and Friday, but will be ready back to the business of the city.


The Articles of impeachment:

3: Alleged hostile work environments within the fire department, city clerk's office and public works department, as well as charging the mayor with preventing a special investigator from reporting to the board about his findings where they were “critical” of Deputy Fire Chief Greg Polk, Planning Administrator Lyle Thomas, City Administrator Alan Clark and the mayor himself.

4:The fire department and the alleged hostile work environment having a negative effect on the city's fire protection. It alleged that Sanders failed to supervise fire department personnel which eventually caused off-duty firefighters and neighboring fire departments to refuse to respond to calls in St. Robert if they knew Polk was responding to the call.

5: Alleged Sanders protected Polk from disciplinary action.

13: Alleged that Sanders did not keep the board informed about important issues such as a former employee filing an equal opportunity employment complaint, city personnel issues and alleged threats against the lives of the St. Robert Board of Aldermen.

Impeachment proceedings vote

Alderman              Article 3           Article 4              Article 5         Article 13

James Phillips           yes                yes                     no                   yes

Butchie Newkirk        no                  no                       no                   no

Todd Williams           yes                yes                       no                  no

Allan Johannsen         no                no                       no                    no

Ed Spotts                  yes                yes                     yes                   no

Freda Hunnicutt          no                no                       no                    no

Bill Shaw                    yes              yes                        no                  no