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Tempe City Council to vote on removing Kolby Granville from office

Posted at 6:54 PM, Apr 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-05 17:56:06-04

TEMPE, AZ — The Tempe City Council will vote later this month on whether to remove Kolby Granville from office.

Granville, first elected to the council in 2012, has been formally reprimanded for previous conduct and was investigated for allegations he provided alcohol to minors and committed sexual assault while teaching at Tempe Preparatory Academy. An investigation by the Phoenix Police Department found there may have been enough evidence to proceed with charges, but none of the victims wanted to prosecute and the case was closed.

Granville denied the allegations.

Before that, he was reprimanded twice by the council for swearing at a city employee and calling a constituent a "psycho, paparazzi stalker." Those actions cost the city $18,000 in outside attorney's fees and other expenses.

The council decided to hold a formal vote on Granville's removal in part after hearing from Sarah Barnes, a lawyer who was hired by the city to go over all of the evidence police collected, interviewed several people and examined the city's code of conduct for any potential violations. The city says it has paid her $9,600 in legal fees. Click here to review all of the documents the city has gathered.

At the meeting Thursday, many citizens addressed the council before the vote.

"It was well-known among my peers and my classmates and the rest of the student body the certain actions and things that he would say that made students uncomfortable," said Erin Guiney, who graduated from Tempe Prep in 2016. "It is not safe for him to be on this council, it is not safe for him to be making decisions that affect people in Tempe.”

"I don’t want our city council to condone the behavior of one of their members by saying it’s perfectly fine for you to treat young women like you treated the young women that went to Tempe Prep," Tempe resident Gayle Shanks.

Granville's current girlfriend, who identified herself as Ashley R., criticized what she sees as a rush to judgment after the initial publication of the former students' allegations.

"We now live in a political climate where if a woman accuses you of something, you are guilty until you can prove your innocence," she said. “As much as I applaud women for coming forward, it’s outrageous these women would take advantage of this time and spread lies.”

At the meeting, six city councilmembers voted in favor of holding the formal vote to remove Granville at a special meeting on April 12. It is expected to begin at 6 p.m. following a previously-scheduled council retreat and will be held in the council chambers at city hall, according to a news release.

Councilman Randy Keating said the vote Thursday is an indication of how the vote to remove Granville will likely go, and that the standard will be different than a criminal trial.

"This is not a beyond a reasonable doubt standard, this is a clear and convincing evidence standard," Keating said. "There’s going to be no forensics, there’s going to be no CSI, that’s going to say 'Yes, this guy definitely did it. It’s going to be up to each individual councilmember to look at the totality of the evidence, weigh the relationship with councilman Granville, weigh the interactions that we’ve had with him, and decide for ourselves do we think he’s being truthful.”

Last November voters approved a change to the city charter which allows the city council to remove one of its members if five of the seven are in favor. The measure was approved with nearly 79% of the vote.

Should Granville be removed from office, the city council has two options to fill the vacancy: It can appoint a replacement within 30 days or call for a special election that must be held within 90 days.