MARION COUNTY — A judge in Marion County court denied a request Friday afternoon for a preliminary injunction on the matter of the City of Centralia’s mayor’s seat, as the court battle continues.
The ruling by Judge Kimbara Harrell will allow the Centralia City Council to appoint a mayor pro-tem at its next meeting.
The City has filed a motion to dismiss Mayor-elect Bryan Kuder’s case and a response deadline on that motion is scheduled for May 31. Additional court dates have been scheduled with Kuder’s next appearance on the matter scheduled for July 19.
A long afternoon of witness testimony Friday included testimony from Kuder, Centralia City Manager Dan Ramey, City Clerk Kim Enke and Councilman David Sauer.
Judge Harrell said she was not convicted that Kuder received due process from the Centralia City Council before they voted he was not qualified based on residency, but denied his request for an injunction as the case continued.
Kuder, who received the most votes in April’s Consolidated Election, claims in his court case that he was a qualified elector, and lived in the city one year prior to the election.
The council vacated his election, however, claiming he had moved from the city limits prior to the election.
Centralia has been without a mayor since May 13, when Sauer and newly elected councilman Robert “Spanky” Smith were sworn into office. That was also the date the new mayor was scheduled to be sworn in or a mayor pro-tem appointed.
Judge Harrell, however, has ordered a temporary order halting the appointment of a mayor pro-tem until Friday’s hearing.
Councilmen Sauer, Smith, Howard Jones, and Andre Marshall will now appoint a mayor pro-tem at the next meeting. That person will serve until the next consolidated election in 2021.