The longtime mayor of a small city in Prince George’s County, Maryland, has been removed from office after missing three consecutive city council meetings without excuse.
Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene W. Grant, who had served since 2004, was removed from office Thursday, the Washington Post reported. The small city of Seat Pleasant has 4,700 residents and borders Washington, D.C.
According to the city charter, the mayor loses the office if three consecutive meetings are missed without being excused by the council.
Grant told News4 he was informed Thursday morning that he had been removed from office by the Seat Pleasant City Council.
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In a brief phone call Thursday, Grant told News4 that he had learned of his removal in a letter that morning. Grant said the council removed him for "missing three council meetings in a row."
When asked if that was true, Grant replied, "I think so."
He claimed he had alerted the city council president of his absence in phone calls but did not have written proof of that.
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It was not immediately clear why Grant had missed the meetings. He declined to give a reason to the Washington Post but said it was not intentional.
Grant said he was proud of his accomplishments over the past 17 years and plans to stay engaged with the city as a resident, though he said he didn’t necessarily agree with the council’s decision to remove him.
"Well, my time as Mayor has ended," he wrote in a post on Twitter. "It was a great pleasure serving our people. Thank you to the residents and citizens of Seat Pleasant for allowing me to serve. God bless you all."
In a release, Seat Pleasant's Office of the City Council wrote in part, "We thank Mayor Grant for his many years of service to the residents of our great city, and we wish him well in his future endeavors."
Grant Faced Controversies While in Office
Grant was most recently re-elected in November 2020, winning the election by 39 votes in a race in which almost 800 residents voted, an election with almost triple the usual voter participation.
He faced controversies during his time in office, including allegations of sexual harassment and assault by a former city employee. Those allegations led to the city council stripping Grant of his CEO powers.
Then residents compiled a report accusing the mayor of mismanagement of city funds. The county's office of law recommended the Maryland state's attorney formally review the report.
Grant has said he did nothing wrong.
“I'm going to stand strong and tall no matter what they say about me, no matter what kind of attacks they hurl against me,” he said in 2020.
What's Next for Seat Pleasant?
The next election is scheduled for September 2024.
However, City Clerk Dashaun Lanham wrote in an email that the city council will meet Monday to decide whether a special election should be held. The council president will perform the mayoral duties until the vacancy is filled.