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Falls council to discuss firing police chief, city manager

NEWTON FALLS – After voting 3-1 this week to fire city manager David Lynch, Newton Falls Village Council now plans to meet again next week to rehash Lynch’s termination and also now to discuss the termination of police chief Gene Fixler.

Some members of council believe Fixler may have been insubordinate in not carrying out its wishes after voting to fire Lynch.

After council’s vote Monday to terminate Lynch, Lynch walked out of the meeting on his own.

Following the vote, village Law Director A. Joseph Fritz stated the 3-1 simple majority vote was insufficient for official passage because the matter was introduced on council floor with no advance notice.

Mayor Ken Kline said he still believes that Lynch’s termination was proper, but rather than risk a lengthy, costly legal battle, council will proceed with a special meeting to come to some resolution.

“We will go into executive session to see if he wants to resign and then if not council will proceed with terminating of the contract,” he said.

Also added to the special meeting notice issued Thursday by Kline is discussion and possible vote to terminate the contract of village police chief. The move comes after some council members said they believed Fixler was insubordinate by not removing Lynch from the meeting on Monday, Kline said.

Reached Thursday, Fixler said he was acting on a decision of the law director who Monday evening issued a memorandum indicating that council’s vote Monday was insufficient for passage.

“I am following the decision of the law director. He has ruled that Mr. Lynch’s contract was not legally terminated and that it was an improper vote of council,” Fixler said.

Fixler earns $72,500 per year. His four-year contract was approved by council members in November.

Fixler said he already has contacted an attorney.

For more on this story, read Friday’s Tribune Chronicle.

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