Impeachment as an appropriate remedy?

Via 2 Political Junkies is the following from a Post-Gazette article :

It takes only 20 signatures from registered voters in a Pittsburgh City
district to launch impeachment proceedings against a council member.
According to today’s Post-Gazette, Homewood resident Phillip Martin began
circulating his impeachment petition against Councilwoman
Twanda Carlisle
in the morning and had 17 signers by lunch that same day.

The P-G goes into more details about the mechanics of the impeachment procedure for a city official. It is an interesting read, but the most important detail for me is the following: Carlisle is up for re-election next year.

I am no longer a city resident, so I have fairly low direct stakes in this discussion, but I am a progressive who believes in clean government. The question I have is whether or not impeachment is the appropriate response to her behavior which can be recapped under the following points:

1. Misspending her walking around money to pay off supporters and family friends
2. Accepting dishonest plagarism as a sound deliverable from one of her WAM friends
3. Being “less than competent” as a council member

She has created at the very least an aura of impropiety with her conflicts of interest in giving out her discretionary spending. She has demonstrated very poor policy and political judgement in this area. I have no dispute about that. However, she is already up for investigation by the DA and ethics investigation as it is for these two areas. She is also due for a primary campaign in eleven months.

The City Council of Pittsburgh has a whole lot less power this year than it did three years ago because its spending authority is greatly restricted by the ACT 47 and IGC boards. There is not a whole lot of damage that can be done by any one council member to its reputation as it is already shot. Nor is she greatly embarrassing compared to her peers. Finally, we have seen some structural reforms put into place to reduce the influence of city WAM.

I don’t think that an impeachment is worthwhile to pursue if she only has eleven months left. It may be a useful political tactic for whomever is running against her in the district to push in order to differentiate and embarrass her, but I don’t think removing her from council, having a special election for a temporary replacement, and then a primary four or five months later greatly aids the democratic process.

I think that my opinion would change if she would hold the office for a couple of years until the next election, but given the time constraints, impeachment of the councilwoman is not a worthwhile endeavor in my view.

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