More than 60 residents called for the immediate resignation of Albany City Councilor Rich Kellum during Wednesday’s council meeting.
In a letter presented to the board at the start of the meeting by resident Madeline MacGregor, the group outlined what it described as Kellum’s “unbecoming” behavior, citing several incidents as well as reporting from the Democrat-Herald.
“If Mr. Kellum is unwilling to understand that he has lost the trust and respect of those whom he represents, and persists in serving until the end of his term, we ask the mayor and members of the Council request an immediate public apology from Mr. Kellum to those who have been hurt by his words and to issue a formal censure,” the letter read.
Kellum, whose term expires at the end of the year, is not running for reelection.
The letter outlines a specific instance in July 2017 when Kellum spoke about an employee he had hired and her sexual orientation.
It also notes reporting from the Democrat-Herald in which Kellum spoke out against including the words “equity, inclusion and diversity” in the charter of the city’s Human Relations Commission as well a statement he made in the same article about the LGBTQ+ community, saying, “I’m a guy who says there are exactly two sexes. If you have a question about that, drop your pants and if you have an outie you’re a guy and if you have an innie you’re a girl. That’s a legitimate perspective. There are people that say if you don’t believe as we do, you’re racist or homophobic.”
Also referenced in the letter is an incident from Sept. 23, when Kellum invited former HRC member Javier Cervantes to meet him at his home to defend himself when Cervantes attempted to correct Kellum’s statement.
“For anyone following this exchange,” the letter reads, “it was apparent that Mr. Kellum was not only behaving in conduct unbecoming to an elected official, but that he had actually issued a threat to a member of the public.”
MacGregor also read from city literature that outlines suggestions for councilors’ behavior and said that because Kellum receives a stipend from the city, he should be held to a higher standard.
“Those of us who have witnessed Mr. Kellum’s unbecoming and insulting behavior have had enough,” she said. “We the undersigned request the Albany City Council find Mr. Kellum unworthy of serving.”
Kellum did not respond to the call for his resignation during Wednesday’s meeting.
Mayor Sharon Konopa apologized on behalf of the council for the behavior cited in the letter.
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