Elected Centralia Mayor Bryan Kuder will be allowed to continue his court case to get the Mayor’s job back.
Associate Judge Kimbara Harrell issued an order in Marion County Court Tuesday rejecting a motion filed by the City of Centralia to dismiss the case. The judge provided three pages of applicable case law to the motion but did not specifically say what portions of the law she was using to make her decision.
Both Kuder and Centralia City Attorney Doug Gruenke agree the decision returns the case to the beginning. The motion to dismiss had been filed by the city after Kuder lost an injunction to remain in office while the court case was argued.
Kuder says the decision is a victory for him.
“Absolutely very pleased. I believe this gives us the opportunity now to take the next step. I want to thank all of my supporters and everybody who voted for me throughout this process honoring their wishes to be seated as the newly elected and verified mayor. The judge ruled today against the city in the motion to dismiss my case,” said Kuder. “I’ll be meeting with my attorney next week to discuss the next and hopefully final step to seating me as mayor.”
Meanwhile, Gruenke feels the judge most likely wanted to hear evidence in the case before making a decision. He continues to believe Kuder’s case has no merit. Gruenke says his next step will be to answer Kuder’s complaint and begin the discovery process of evidence back and forth between the two sides.
No date has yet been set for the case to come back before the judge.
Kuder filed the suit after the Centralia City Council refused to seat him after he won the April 2019 election because they claimed he did not meet the residency requirement and actually lived in a home he and his wife own in Washington County. Kuder has maintained he has always had a city of Centralia address although he had to vacate his apartment while repairs were made after a water line burst.