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Mt. Washington woman takes aim at impeaching Mayor Bill Peduto

Bob Bauder
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Brooke Nadonley of Mt. Washington and Val Finnell of Kennedy in the Allegheny County Courthouse on Jan. 28, 2019.

A Pittsburgh Republican official is attempting to impeach Mayor Bill Peduto over the city’s proposed gun ban, but an Allegheny County judge 16 years ago dismissed a similar case filed against former Mayor Tom Murphy.

Brooke Nadonley, 42, of Mt. Washington said she was following the charter when she attempted to file court petitions Monday calling for the mayor’s impeachment. She could not immediately pay $160.25 for filing fees, but vowed to return after raising the money and consulting an attorney.

“I just figured the petitions of the electors would be adequate,” Nadonley said. “We definitely want to make sure this is not going to get thrown out.”

Peduto was unfazed by the news.

“Arrest me. Sue me. Impeach me,” the mayor tweeted. “I was elected to protect my constituents and that is exactly what I will do.”

Peduto spokesman Tim McNulty described the petitions as a “total joke” and “waste of time.”

“It makes clear that some opponents of the city’s proposed reforms would rather make goofy attempts to harass elected officials than actually engage in constructive debate on how to prevent the gun massacres threatening the public health of our country,” McNulty said.

Nadonley said she was incensed over legislation proposed by Peduto and city council members that would ban certain semi-automatic weapons and firearms accessories from within city limits. She accused Peduto of “malfeasance in office,” noting that Pennsylvania law prohibits municipalities from regulating firearms.

“They’re saying they’re going to break the law and they’re trying to influence other officials to break the law,” she said.

She spent several hours in the Allegheny County courthouse Monday accompanied by Val Finnell of Kennedy, attempting to find an office that would accept the paperwork. Finnell, a member of Firearm Owners Against Crime, has vowed to file a private criminal complaint against the mayor and council members if the ban is approved.

Under the Home Rule Charter a resident needs 20 signatures to bring impeachment proceedings against a mayor or member of council. If a county judge determines there is a sound basis for impeachment because of “mental incapacity, incompetence, neglect of duty, malfeasance, mismanagement, or for any corrupt act or practice,” the court would appoint a residents committee to investigate.

If the committee finds that charges are reasonable, the issue will go before City Council, which would act as a jury with the Court of Common Pleas president judge as the presiding officer and the city controller’s solicitor acting as prosecutor, according to the charter.

In 2003, the late Jim Genco of Lawrenceville filed petitions for the impeachment of former Mayor Tom Murphy after the mayor announced a mass layoff of city employees and other drastic cost-cutting measures to address the city’s financial collapse.

Former President Judge Robert A. Kelly dismissed the case ruling that the charter’s impeachment provisions were unconstitutional.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter @bobbauder.