Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

Five months ago we recommended Baker City Mayor Richard Langrell give up his largely ceremonial title but remain a city councilor.

Langrell has declined to do so.

But now it seems some of his colleagues might be willing to rescind their decision, made in January 2013, to elect Langrell as mayor.

(In Baker City the elected councilors, not the voters, choose the mayor.)

At the end of Tuesday's City Council meeting, Councilor Clair Button said he believes at least three of the seven councilors have asked Langrell to step down as mayor.

The Council might discuss the issue, and possibly vote on a measure to remove Langrell as mayor, at its next meeting, July 8.

The case against Langrell, so to speak, has become more compelling since we called for him to resign in early February.

At that time Langrell had asked the city to reimburse him and his wife almost $15,000 in water and sewer bills they paid over nine years for their motel, the Always Welcome Inn.

In April the Langrells, having been rebuffed by the city, filed a lawsuit in Baker County Circuit Court.

It's not appropriate for Langrell to remain as mayor while he is embroiled in a legal battle with the city for which he is the chief representative.

Moreover, by ceding his title Langrell would in no way disenfranchise the 2,119 city residents who voted for him in the November 2012 election.

The mayor has neither veto power nor other special authority over Council decisions. Langrell can withdraw as mayor and continue to represent his constituents as a councilor with the same voting rights as his six colleagues.

If he continues to refuse to do so, then we hope four other councilors will make the decision for him.