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Newton Falls mayor seeks court help on firing

WARREN — The mayor of Newton Falls has filed a court action asking a Trumbull County judge to order some village officials to recognize council’s recent vote to fire Village Manager David Lynch.

The writ of mandamus filed in Common Pleas Court names as defendants Lynch, Law Director A. Joseph Fritz and police Chief Eugene Fixler — as well as the village.

A conference call is set for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 5 among the parties of the action and Judge W. Wyatt McKay.

On July 19, council voted 3-1 to terminate the contract of Lynch. Four of the five members were present with Councilwoman Sandra Breymaier absent.

After the meeting, Fritz issued a letter declaring council’s action to be invalid and claiming “the City Manager is not properly terminated.” In his letter, Fritz claimed a two-thirds vote by all council members is required to terminate Lynch’s contract.

The facts of the lawsuit were written by attorney Gil Blair, a former state representative. It also states Lynch gained access to the village manager’s office about 5 a.m. July 20 and refused to vacate. The lawsuit also states Fixler as police chief has refused to remove Lynch from village property.

The lawsuit accuses Lynch, Fritz and Fixler of violating the village’s charter by failing to accept the council’s resolution. It also states procedural matters are not addressed directly by the charter and council follows procedures outlined in Robert’s Rules of Order, which provide a majority vote of those present is required on any matter. The Rules of Order also require a two-thirds vote to amend or rescind something previously adopted if notice has not been given, the lawsuit states.

The matter properly was handled because council members John Baryak, Tesa Spletzer and Brian Kropp voted to terminate with Adam Zimmermann voting no, the lawsuit states.

Council plans to meet again at 6 p.m. Thursday to rehash Lynch’s termination and also discuss the termination of Fixler.

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