NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) – Whether or not a recall election moves forward in Newton Falls could hinge on the opinion of the village law director.
Earlier this week, Newton Falls Council voted on a date next month to hold a recall election involving 4th Ward Councilperson Sandra Breymaier.
Most council members walked out of that meeting, but Mayor Kenneth Kline says he’s hopeful the election will take place per the wishes of the people who signed the petition to hold it in the first place.
“These signatures, very clearly, this is what they want,” Kline said.
Kline says he’s cautiously optimistic a special recall election for Breymaier will take place next month. He said residents of her ward turned in a petition for her recall with 191 valid signatures last month – more than the 137 needed or 51% of the 269 people who voted in that ward during the last municipal election in 2019 and more than the 155 people who initially voted for her during that same election.
“With those numbers that we throw out there, those are staggering, those are eye-opening that says that there’s an issue there,” Kline said. “You have individuals who spoke very clearly when they got all of those signatures, very clearly. It is up to us to follow through and put forth what was their wishes.”
Whether or not the village moves forward with that election could depend on an opinion from Law Director Joe Fritz. Fritz was acting as clerk of council Monday when he was removed from the council meeting. Three council members, including Breymaier and the city manager, walked out.
“The clerk of council was ejected from the meeting, so that terminated the meeting. That is my view, and I think that’s why people got up and left. You cannot conduct business without the clerk of council as part of the council meeting,” said City Manager David Lynch.
Watch the full meeting video in the player below:
Kline said those members disrupted the meeting.
“They spit in the face of the community,” Kline said.
It was after their departure that two remaining council members voted to hold the recall on May 25, 2021.
“I think my job right now is to wait until we receive that opinion, and then we will go from there,” Lynch said.
Kline says the election has to be held within 90 days of when the petition was verified.
“It has to be by July 8 of this year. It has to be or it’s a charter violation,” Kline said.