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Falls gets new mayor and council member

NEWTON FALLS — Lyle A. Waddell, facing a term limit as mayor, has become the village’s 3rd Ward councilman.

The position became vacant when Mark Stimpert stepped down in August to become the village zoning director.

The shakeup at Monday night’s council meeting made John Baryak the acting mayor — he is the 2nd Ward councilman and serves as council’s vice president.

During the tense meeting, two Newton Falls police officers sat in the back of the council room. About 20 residents were on hand when Baryak questioned the legality of Waddell taking Stimpert’s ward.

“Will you step down as mayor?” Baryak asked; to which Waddell replied, “Yes, at the appropriate time.”

This didn’t seem to satisfy Baryak, who asked Waddell, “Are you applying for this position?”

Waddell responded, “Why does it matter, John?”

Then Baryak asked the rest of the council, “Where are we at with this?”

Waddell replied, “We already took a motion and seconded it.”

Because Baryak is vice president of the council, he became acting mayor — and one of his duties is to swear in new council members. Law Director A. Joseph Fritz reminded him of this, saying, “You need to swear in the councilman.”

Additionally, village council is placing Waddell on the committees on which Stimpert previously served — economic development, finance, tax and the fire district.

Waddell said to the council and crowd, “Thank you for supporting me these nine years. Being mayor is a humbling experience.”

But Baryak said, “Tonight I’m very ashamed that the will of the people has been thwarted. If you’re aghast about what happened here, please don’t give up on Newton Falls.”

During public comments, resident Katie Carl congratulated Waddell and Baryak on their new positions.

“That was surprising,” she said about the changes.

Additionally, she announced her plans for a new themed event called Falls Wizarding Festival. “It will be held July 17 and 18, 2020. Everybody is excited about it. The idea is to bring revenue into our businesses. It’s going to be geared toward our organizations and anybody and everybody is going to be involved.”

wwolfgang@tribtoday.com

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