NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) – Two members of Newton Falls City Council are calling for the mayor’s removal after a heated meeting earlier this week.
A letter was sent to Mayor Kenneth Kline on Friday from Law Director Joseph Fritz, signed by council members Sandra Breymaier and Tarry Alberini.
Citing Article 3, section 4 of the Newton Falls Charter, they have initiated the process of a hearing, charging Kline with “gross misconduct” for removing the law director from Monday’s meeting, according to the letter.
The issues stem from a dispute over a vote during the meeting to hold a recall election involving Councilperson Breymaier.
A complaint was filed earlier in March regarding Breymaier, saying her actions during a meeting were unprofessional. The complaint was rejected by a vote of 3-2 and Breymaier was not disciplined.
Residents of the city then submitted a petition for Breymaier’s recall.
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.
Kline previously said that those members disrupted the meeting.
It was after their departure that two remaining council members voted to hold the recall on May 25, 2021.
Saturday, Kline responded to the letter from the law director, saying no matter what happens, he feels that he is doing the right thing.
He said all he wanted to do is be ethical and make sure the recall election is done right.
“I don’t see where there was anything I had done wrong. It’s clear it is an attack on me,” he said.
He said there’s no proof he did anything wrong and feels as if their minds are already made up.
“These three want to push their will, not the will of the people,” he said.
The letter indicates that a hearing will be held May 12 in council chambers and that Kline may retain counsel and present evidence in his case.
“It’s very disappointing. We don’t have to do leadership like this in a community this small. I came here to change all that, and you know, if you’re fair here, this is what you get. You get kicked in the teeth,” Kline said.
Kline says his focus right now is making sure the recall election is fair and that the people have an opportunity to vote.
In response to that letter calling for Kline’s removal, a group of village residents publicly showed their support for Mayor Kenneth Kline.
They stood at the corner of East Broad Street and Center Street Saturday holding signs saying “I stand with Kline.”
Those in attendance say they wanted to stand up for their mayor.
“In less than 24 hours, we have over 253 signatures to save Mayor Kline,” said Julie Lemon, a Newton Falls resident.
The group says they’ll continue collecting signatures for their petition.