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Newton Falls Village Council members skip meeting

Falls mayor sends police to find them

Newton Falls residents Sandy Riehl, left, Richard Eby and Anna Eby hold signs showing support for Mayor Ken Kline on Monday, prior to the Newton Falls Village Council meeting — which ended up being canceled due to lack of a quorum. More than 50 people gathered Monday to support Kline after attempts were made by two council members to remove him from office. Staff photo / Bob Coupland

NEWTON FALLS — When two members of village council did not show up for Monday’s meeting or let officials know they were not able to attend, Mayor Ken Kline had village police go to their homes to tell them to get there.

Kline said he received an email from Councilman-at-Large Tarry Alberini that he couldn’t attend, then attempted to reach council members Adam Zimmerman and Sandra Breymaier by phone.

The mayor said because only two of the five members of council were on hand, it wasn’t enough for a quorum to have the meeting — which would have included setting a recall date for 4th Ward Councilwoman Breymaier.

John Baryak and Tesa Spletzer attended the meeting.

More than 50 people also attended Monday, including many who gathered in the parking lot beforehand, holding signs and singing songs in support of Kline as mayor.

When the meeting was set to start at 6 p.m. Kline had the police go to the Zimmerman and Breymaier homes to tell them to get to the meeting.

Police Chief Gene Fixler said police can only relay the message and can’t force the council members to the meeting. Police can escort people only with a warrant for their arrest.

“If we knock on their door and they refuse to come here, we are not bringing them,” Fixler said.

Fixler said the police went to both homes with no one at Breymaier’s house and a family member of Zimmerman saying he was not at home.

“I do not know what kind of games we are playing around here. I am tired of this nonsense. This is their second unexcused absence. They walked out of the last meeting without being excused. This is embarrassing,” Kline said.

He said Breymaier and Zimmerman left the April 19 meeting along with Alberini, village manager David Lynch and Law Director Joseph Fritz over a dispute on whether Breymaier could comment and vote on setting a date for her recall election.

Alberini and Breymaier made an attempt to remove Kline as mayor for his conduct at the April 19 meeting. Kline had wanted to remove Fritz from the meeting, where he was acting as village clerk in Kathy King’s absence.

Late last week the motion to remove Kline as mayor was dropped.

Kline said Zimmerman is running for re-election in the 1st Ward and does not attend meetings or let officials know he is not attending.

“Even a blind man can see what is going on,” said Baryak of again delaying action on Breymaier’s recall.

The meeting’s agenda had included setting a date for her recall with one motion listed as May 3, 2022, and the other May 25, 2021.

An emergency council meeting was set for 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Residents did present a petition with 557 signatures supporting Kline as mayor.

Several residents indicated that if members of a public body refuse to represent the community members who elected them, there can be action by the public to remove them.

“They work for us and can’t treat the residents like this. These individuals are holding the residents hostage by acting like this. We need new people on council who care about our community,” resident Brian Kropp said.

Before the meeting, 50 residents and members of the Trumbull County Republican Party — of which Kline is the chairman — gathered in the parking lot holding signs that said, “I Stand with Kline.”

Songs such as “Lean on Me” and “We’re Not Going to Take It” played from a large radio in the parking lot.

Julie Lemon and Jaime Kline, who is not related to the mayor, said action needed to be taken when they heard attempts were being made to remove the mayor.

“This brought both Republicans and Democrats together to support Mayor Kline,” she said.

Jaime Kline said residents are upset some members of council are not listening to them.

“We have people here from other parts of the county to support the mayor,” Jaime Kline said.

Barbara Tryon, treasurer with the county GOP, said more than 10 members attended the council meeting.

“We are here to support him. What is right is right; and what is fair is fair,” she said.

Kline said he appreciated the support from the public and believes the large outcry is the reason the effort for removal was dropped.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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