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Council ousts Bardstown mayor from office

The Kentucky Standard

BARDSTOWN -- Mayor John Royalty was removed from office Thursday by a unanimous vote of the Bardstown City Council.

The council was instructed to considered three charges:

â ¢ Was there substantial evidence the mayor used city personnel and resources to access Councilwoman Kecia Copeland's private emails without executive authority to do so? If so, is there substantial evidence that it violated the law?

â ¢ Did the mayor disseminate private email communications to a third party in violation of Copeland's privacy rights, without executive authority to do so, and was such action misconduct?

â ¢ Did the mayor order a city employee to lie to the city council to gain access to members' iPads, and was doing so outside his authority as mayor and was there substantial evidence that it violated the law?

Council members voted yes on all three counts after two hours and 15 minutes of deliberation.

Royalty took the stand in his own defense, testifying for more than two hours in which he portrayed his actions late last year as an attempt to preserve public documents and acting under his executive authority.

As for accessing Copeland's emails through her city-issued iPad, Royalty said he did not instruct a city worker to lie about needing updates.

But City IT Supervisor Brandon Brewer testified that while Royalty did not explicitly say "lie," the mayor directed him to send a misleading email to all council members saying an update was required.

Royalty said the false pretense of the message was necessary because he was concerned if council members knew he wanted them scanned for improper personal use, they might destroy some documents.

"There was no lie. Not in my opinion," Royalty said.

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