The Clearlake City Council has demoted its mayor, citing behavior unsuitable for a leader.
"It's a shame and it's an embarrassment," said councilwoman Joyce Overton, who was voted in as the replacement for the ousted mayor, Jeri Spittler.
Overton voted against Spittler's removal Thursday night but is critical of her colleague. Spittler has been accused of being rude to other council members and staff, especially during closed sessions; giving orders to staff without authorization; entering a locked records room without permission; and overhauling a staff break room without notifying anyone, Overton said.
Spittler, in her third year as a council member, said the accusations against her range from false to highly exaggerated and should not have ended her one-year mayoral term early.
"It's unbelievable. Basically I was ousted for providing a clean environment for the staff to have its lunches," she said.
Spittler said she and her husband spent six hours over one weekend cleaning up the break room, throwing out moldy food and washing walls.
The records room she is accused of wrongly entering is used as storage, she said. Spittler said she moved ladders and ceiling tiles from the break room to the storage room. She also moved a round table and some chairs from storage into the break room, built shelves and placed inspirational posters on the wall.
Her fellow council members say Spittler is the one exaggerating and that she appears not to understand the point of the criticisms.
"That's the staff's personal space and she does not have the authority to move things around and throw things away," said Councilman Joey Luiz. He said a volunteer had a project in the lunch room that "apparently resembled garbage" and was thrown out.
The council majority is also upset with Spittler for taking a public stand against their 4-1 decision to ask voters for a 1 percent sales tax, primarily for the city's ailing roads.