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Fireworks expected in Newton Falls

Residents, county GOP members to support mayor ahead of council recall vote

NEWTON FALLS — Community support for Village Mayor Ken Kline apparently has prompted two council members to withdraw their motion to have him removed.

Residents have been circulating a petition after two members of village council — Tarry Alberini and Sandra Breymaier — early last week sought to have Kline removed for his actions during an April 19 council meeting.

Rick Kerlin, a Newton Falls resident, said he and others obtained more than 550 signatures both in person and online that will be presented at today’s 6 p.m. council meeting. Many residents also plan to attend the council meeting.

Members of the Trumbull County Republican Party plan to drive from Warren to Newton Falls at 5 p.m. in support of Kline, who is the chairman of the local Republican party.

Kerlin said local organizations, including the Newton Falls Commerce Association, have sent letters to village officials in support of Kline staying as mayor.

“This will be a rally in celebration of Mayor Kline and to show appreciation to him,” he said, noting it still will happen despite the withdrawal of the motion.

Resident Chris Mazur said residents are planning to “escort” Kline and his wife, Tonya, at 5 p.m. from the former Pamida store location to the village municipal building for a rally.

She said an online site supporting Kline called “Support Mayor Ken Kline” has been established.

BACKGROUND

Last week, Alberini and Breymaier had called for Kline’s removal, according to a letter sent by Law Director Joseph Fritz that set a May 12 hearing on the matter.

Citing the Newton Falls Charter, the council members initiated the process of a hearing, charging Kline with “gross misconduct” for removing Fritz from the April 19 meeting, according to the letter.

However, Kline received word over the weekend from Fritz that Alberini and Breymaier had requested to withdraw the motion. That hearing has been canceled.

It stemmed from the April 19 meeting where council members Adam Zimmermann, Breymaier and Alberini, as well as Village Manager David Lynch and Fritz, walked out before a vote setting a recall date for Breymaier.

On tonight’s meeting agenda are motions to overrule the decision of the chair (Kline) in reference to Breymaier voting on the recall date; setting May 25 as the recall election date; and setting the recall election for May 3, 2022.

A complaint was filed in March regarding Breymaier, saying when she made a derogatory comment after the meeting ended but was still on Zoom was unprofessional. The complaint was rejected by a council vote of 3-2, and Breymaier was not disciplined. Breymaier voted against her own discipline.

Residents then submitted a petition for Breymaier’s recall.

RECENT ACTIONS

Council was setting a date for Breymaier’s recall election when a dispute occurred. Kline stated when the roll is called, Breymaier should not be allowed to vote on the matter or comment on it. Fritz disagreed, stating Kline had no authority to tell Breymaier that she could not comment or vote and planned to call her name for the roll call.

Kline then had Fritz removed as acting clerk and said he was calling the roll. Breymaier, Aberini and Zimmerman left the meeting.

After their departures, two remaining council members, Tesa Spletzer and John Baryak, and Kline voted to hold the recall May 25. Kline said he wants to make sure the law is followed and the recall election is done right.

The Trumbull County Board of Elections on April 26 ruled the vote for setting the recall did not have the needed quorum of council to pass. Officials said last week village council still has plenty of time before the deadline to convene and set a date for the recall.

Kline said council has until July 8 or 9 to set the date, which is 90 days after the signatures were verified. Kline said three votes of council are needed for passage of items.

“Politics is getting in the way of what is right and wrong. … The residents did what they were allowed to do and secured the needed signatures for the petition to get the recall election on the ballot for a vote by the residents of the 4th Ward,” Kline said.

Kline said he is “touched” by the support he has received from the public, his friends with the county Republican Party and community members.

Kline said he will wait and see what happens on the vote for the recall date, but noted he already has contacted the Ohio Ethics Commission about Breymaier’s previous vote on voting against her own discipline and other matters related to her.

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