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Council unanimously votes to remove Winkle from office, makes statement

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Former District 3 Mesa Councilmember Ryan Winkle answers questions Aug. 31 during his disciplinary hearing. (Kelly Mixer/MyNewsMesa.com)

The Mesa City Council voted unanimously to remove District 3 Councilmember Ryan Winkle from office after a three-hour hearing this morning.

The Mesa City Charter allows City Council to discipline its members in order to uphold the integrity of the office of Mesa City Councilmember. On May 7, Winkle was arrested for DUI and subsequently pled guilty to extreme DUI.

City officials said the decision was “based on all the evidence at the hearing, including the DUI arrest and conviction.”

Former Vice Mayor and District 3 Councilmember Dennis Kavanaugh, who represented Winkle’s district for 17 out of the last 20 years, continues to support his successor.

“I am very disappointed in the Council’s decision to remove Mr. Winkle from office. I would have preferred that option to be a decision made by District 3 voters,” Kavanaugh said after today’s hearing.

Winkle served six days in jail, July 21-27. His 49 days of home detention started immediately after and he’s monitored with an ankle bracelet and gets 12 hours a day work release. On Aug. 7, Winkle ended his voluntary suspension without pay. He had been on voluntary suspension without pay since May 17.

If the City Council voted to remove him from office, Winkle said he’d be “very disappointed” but that he plans to continue what he has always done: “helping small businesses and promoting Mesa.”

Winkle said this afternoon: “I’m heartbroken. I am mad at myself for obvious reasons. Oddly, I feel somewhat relieved. Most of all, I have a heart full of thankfulness for the great fortune I’ve been given. I’ll be around.”

The following statement from the Mesa City Council was released this afternoon:

“This morning, at a special meeting of the Mesa City Council, the Council unanimously made the difficult decision to remove Ryan Winkle from the Office of District 3 Councilmember. This wasn’t a decision we came to lightly, but after nearly three hours of testimony, based on all the evidence that was presented, including his DUI conviction, we felt this was the appropriate course of action.

As elected officials we must hold ourselves to a higher standard of conduct to protect the integrity of the office and trust of the people we represent. We wish Ryan well and look forward to the future.

The process to fill the vacancy in District 3 will be announced shortly.”

Stay tuned for more coverage on MyNewsMesa.com.

– Kelly Mixer is managing editor of MyNewsMesa.com. Reach her at kmixer@mynewsmesa.com.

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