By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR – While a city council meeting was broadcast inside Aug. 18, protestors gathered outside city hall, calling for the ouster of Mayor Rick Sollars, who is under a multi-count federal indictment.
Protester Martin Drouillard, 58, of Taylor, said Sollars needs to step down, and the City Council needs to push him to do so.
“If a police officer, a fireman or just a regular employee was indicted, he would be suspended without pay,” Drouillard said. “I feel the same should work for the mayor, and in the ethics part of the charter, it certainly states that.”
He said with 31 indictments against Sollars, and what he claims is a 90 percent federal conviction rate for similar indictments, he said it is unlikely that Sollars will be found innocent on all counts.
“He might work a deal, but whatever the case might be, I think he is just keeping his position, doing his golf outings and all that to make money to pay for his attorneys,” Drouillard said. “I just don’t think that he is ever going to get out of this. It’s giving the city a terrible black eye, and bringing this upon the city is the worst thing he could have done.”
Local political activist William McDonald, 33, of Taylor, said he hopes the protest sends a message to the council members that residents are still paying attention to the fact that Sollars is under indictment.
“We know that the mayor’s been indicted, and we know that the council hasn’t taken any specific actions regarding an ethics violation, or an investigation, or his removal pending his clearance on it,” he said. “He could be found guilty or he could be found innocent. Either way, I just don’t want an indicted felon — a racketeering and bribery person — to be running my city.”
McDonald said more than a year has passed, and while federal authorities continue to build a case, he doesn’t think Sollars should be able to influence the city budget and the awarding of contracts, when some of the indictments allege businesses received improper advantage.
“The faith of his office has been called into question, and for the integrity of our city and the integrity of our administration, that needs to be held into account,” he said. “It needs to be a higher standard.”
McDonald said he would like to see the city council pass a resolution asking the mayor to step down.
“The citizens, in general, have lost faith in him to execute his office faithfully,” he said. “This isn’t about anything more than asking our government to be transparent with what they do, and be accountable for their actions, and that includes the mayor, at the top, and the council as well.”