NEWTON FALLS - Signatures have been collected and sent to the Trumbull County Board of Elections in an effort to recall the mayor of Newton Falls.
Mayor Patrick Layshock has been the target of ire from a number of residents in Newton Falls who blame the ongoing strife within City Council on the mayor and his actions, and they believe something needed to be done.
''The town's been fighting for 20 years,'' said Phil Beer, one of the organizers of the petition. ''Pat, in my opinion, is the common denominator.''
Beer and those who support the petition, have spent several months going around Newton Falls collecting the signatures and talking with people in the community.
''We haven't just been out there a couple days. We've been out there for three months and we've talked to an awful lot of people,'' Beer said. ''The vast majority of the people we talked to are not happy with the things that he is doing.''
A call to Layshock for comment was not returned Tuesday.
Now that the petitions have been forwarded to the elections board, the next step is to validate the signatures on the petitions before it is decided if a special election will take place.
''Our board will determine the validity of the petition itself,'' said Kelly Pallante, Trumbull County Board of Elections director.
The board will determine if the signatures are valid by making sure they belong to registered residents of Newton Falls and by making sure the physical signatures match up with the signatures held by the board.
According to Pallante, the recall petition needs 195 valid signatures to move forward. The petition turned in by Newton Falls residents included 252 signatures.
The number is based on a percentage of the vote from the last municipal election, which was held in 2009. For a recall, it would be necessary to obtain 15 percent of the vote from the 2009 municipal election.
If the petition is determined to be valid, it will then be up to the city to set a date for a special election within 30 to 40 days of the board's certification, Pallante said.
It would be during that 30 to 40 days that others interested in running for the mayoral seat would have to file nominating petitions.
''If someone wants to run for the mayor's seat due to the recall they would need 130 valid signatures,'' Pallante said.
If certified, the special election would be held in mid- to late September.
The board of elections will meet in a special session 9:30 a.m. Tuesday to review several issues, including the recall of Layshock, and the review of petitions for former Rep. James A? Traficant Jr.'s bid to re-enter the U.S. Congress.