The fireworks by law can only be purchased by municipalities, or by individuals who possess federal explosives licenses.
City commissioners said last week that they were precluded by state law from taking any action in response to the conviction before Martin’s sentencing on Dec. 10.
But Commissioner Johnathan Medlock said Monday that he, the other commissioners and the city attorney were not reading the most recent version of the law. They now believe they have the power to suspend Martin. Medlock has been elevated from vice mayor to acting mayor of the city of 6,000, just outside the District in Prince George’s County.
“I am the current mayor of the city of District Heights, and we will continue to move our city forward,” Medlock said.
Martin did not respond to requests for comment Monday. He previously said that he has no immediate plans to resign and was swindled “by a sweet-talking crook” who told him that he could use some of the fireworks in the annual District Heights Fourth of July celebration. Martin said no city funds were spent on the fireworks.
The suspension letter, signed by City Attorney Kevin Karpinski, instructs Martin not to “undertake any actions, to include contacting City employees, that may be construed as you acting as the Mayor. Any such actions could have implications with regard to your sentencing on December 10, 2019.”
Medlock said Martin may appeal his suspension from the part-time post, which pays $14,400.
Martin will not be paid during his suspension, Medlock said.
Commissioner Cynthia Miller said she was happy with the decision to suspend Martin, noting that dozens of residents have called for his ouster.
“It’s the right thing to do,” she said. “Any other person would have resigned.”