Superior councilor says he won't resign
Superior City Councilor Graham Garfield announced Tuesday that he isn't resigning from the council, and several residents and a fellow city councilor echoed Mayor Jim Paine's call for his resignation.Garfield, 26, is facing felony and misdemeanor...
Superior City Councilor Graham Garfield announced Tuesday that he isn’t resigning from the council, and several residents and a fellow city councilor echoed Mayor Jim Paine’s call for his resignation.
Garfield, 26, is facing felony and misdemeanor charges for allegedly pointing a loaded firearm at his fiancee during a domestic incident on April 20. The following week, Paine called for Garfield’s resignation, saying that Garfield “cannot and should not continue to represent his constituents while he faces criminal charges.” Earlier in April, Garfield won re-election by one vote to his second term representing the city’s 6th District.
Councilor Brent Fennessey said during Tuesday’s council meeting that he also supports Paine’s call for Garfield to resign. He said trust has been “completely destroyed” by the allegations against Garfield and the council needs residents to know that the city stands by groups such as the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse.
“To the citizens of Superior, you deserve better than this,” Fennessey said, and urged the Council to take action on the matter.
In a statement Tuesday, Garfield said that continuing to serve as a city councilor is best for the district and the council.
“Just as the election process is sacred, so too is the American justice system; a system that maintains that I am entitled to a fair legal process before judgment is passed against me,” the statement read. “It was unfortunate that the mayor sought to inappropriately pass that judgment. Regardless, I continue to support his agenda and believe in the principles on which I was elected.”
Garfield said he is now “living a sober life” and has begun to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
“I appreciate the public’s support and understanding as I continue on the path of recovery,” he said.
Garfield did not comment on the matter during or following Tuesday’s council meeting.
During the meeting, residents said elected officials are held to a higher standard.
Superior resident and School Board member Laura Gapske urged the council to take the issue seriously. Gapske, who works in the field of domestic violence, said she hopes Garfield is held accountable.
“That is very important - I’ve worked with men who batter for many, many years - accountability is the No. 1 thing and we don’t even have that from our councilor,” she said.
Kym Young, a former resident of Garfield’s district, asked him to step down, saying it would be in the best interests of his district and the city’s residents. She said she’s raising young grandsons to be respectful of women, laws and the community.
“I do not believe you can represent those in this community who are survivors of domestic abuse, domestic violence. I do not believe you are the best representative or role model for our children to look up to on our City Council,” Young said.
Pete MacInnes, a resident of the 6th District represented by Garfield, said he was grieved deeply by the charges.
“I do believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and we must continue to allow that process to play itself out,” MacInnes said. He urged Garfield to step down, and the Council to take action to remove him if he doesn’t step down.
Paine can’t directly remove Garfield and the public can’t initiate recall efforts until a councilor has served a year of his term. The City Council could remove him for cause with a supermajority vote.
Garfield is expected to appear for a preliminary hearing on the felony charge Wednesday.
Shelley Nelson of the Superior Telegram contributed to this report.