Louisville Metro Councilwoman Judy Green, D-1, has resigned from office effective immediately.
In a letter delivered to the council clerk’s office Friday morning, Green stepped down. It comes less than a day after she vowed to fight against her expulsion trial at a rally with supporters.
“It has been my privilege to represent the residents of District 1,” she says.
Sources close to Green said she had intended to step down Thursday and was seen removing boxes from her district office, but reconsidered. Attorney Derwin Webb, who is representing Green, said the councilwoman changed her mind after considering the toll on her health, family and constituents.
The decision to resign surprised many of Green’s most vocal supporters, who had charged the council was targeting her because she is African-American.
Concerned Residents of District One spokeswoman Kathleen Parks says she is disappointed Green left her seat and hopes the controversial lawmaker will remain involved.
“I’m very upset that she stepped down but I do understand. It’s a tough job, however, Concerned Residents of District One will carry on with focusing on the issues that are important and critical to the constituents of District 1,” says Parks. “If Councilwoman Green decides to run again she certainly has my personal support and I’m sure from many of the residents. I just wish her and her family the best.”
The Metro Ethics Commission ruled earlier this year that Green had deliberately violated the city’s code of ethics on two separate occasions. The panel slapped Green with its harshest penalty, delivering a letter of reprimand, censure and recommendation that she be removed from office over her handling of a city-funded summer jobs program and for rerouting funds through a non-profit group without the council’s knowledge.
According to council rules, Green’s resignation does not take effect until the next council meeting—scheduled for September 22—which is after the removal hearing.
The Metro Council Court will meet Monday to decide whether to go forward with the expulsion trial, but Webb says he will file a motion to dismiss considering the councilwoman has relinquished her seat.
In an opinion to the Charging Committee that impeached Green, Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell indicated state law allows the hearing to go forward even if Green steps down from office. If Green were removed by the court she would be prohibited from seeking the District 1 seat before her term expires in 2014.
Though Webb points to Green’s concerns as a reason for her stepping down, the resignation came only minutes after Councilman Kelly Downard- R-16, who is the chairman of the court, issued an order barring Green from introducing any evidence during the trial.
According to council court records, Green had failed to submit the proper documents with the clerk’s office and would not have been able to put on a defense during the removal hearing.
“[Councilwoman Green] has ignored the rules in connection with witnesses and exhibits,” says Downard. “Entering an order precluding a party from being able to present evidence in a proceeding is an extraordinary and regrettable step. However, [Councilwoman Green’s] blatant and unexcused non-compliance with the rules of this proceeding leaves no other reasonable alternative.”