Newton Falls sets 4th Ward recall election
Councilwoman faces vote on July 27
NEWTON FALLS — After months of arguing and delays, village council voted 3-1 Tuesday to set the recall election of 4th Ward Councilwoman Sandra Breymaier for July 27.
The decision by council drew cheers and applause from many of the 50 people who attended the more-than-two-hour council meeting.
Council members John Baryak, Tesa Spletzer and Brian Kropp — attending his first official council meeting after being sworn into office Monday — voted in favor of the July 27 date. Councilman Adam Zimmerman voted no.
Breymaier did not attend the meeting, calling in to Village Manager David Lynch that she was ill.
“This has been a long-time coming. Here we are naming the date for the recall election,” Spletzer said.
Baryak said so much time has been spent to deny the right to vote to 4th Ward residents.
“Here we have come full circle something that council should have been able to do a long time ago. I am not telling people the way to vote, but people should have the right to vote. We are following what the charter specifically states. We have hashed this out 55 times. It is time to get this finally voted on,” Baryak said.
Mayor Ken Kline said the charter clearly states council shall set the date of the recall 90 days from when the council member was notified of the recall petition. All signatures on the petition were verified by the Trumbull County Board of Elections in early April.
Resident Rick Kerlin said since January, 4th Ward residents waited for a recall election date to be selected.
“There has been a lot of inconvenience for the people of this town for this to go this long,” Kerlin said.
Resident Julie Lemon added her thoughts.
“This has been six months coming. It is their choice to choose their representation. If they are not satisfied, they can vote,” she said.
The Ohio Supreme Court previously had ruled a recall election for the 4th Ward seat should not take place because of the lack of votes by village council.
The special election was to take place June 1, but a vote of 2-1-1 by council at a May 10 meeting was not enough. Baryak and Spletzer previously had voted “yes,” Zimmerman “no” and Breymaier “abstained.”
The Supreme Court on May 10 ruled three affirmative votes were needed.
Village Law Director Joseph Fritz, clerk Kathleen King and Breymaier filed a complaint May 18 with the state Supreme Court against the Trumbull County Board of Elections and its four board members to stop the June 1 recall election.
In another matter, resident Catie Karl said she was concerned members of council are not representing all the citizens, noting the personal attacks against residents and village officials made by citizens during meetings.
Karl blamed Kline for allowing citizens to verbally attack her, interrupt her and “cut down” her and members of the administration.
“The circus continues. The attacks from the citizens continue against me, Mr. Lynch, Mr. Fritz and Mr. Zimmerman. They attack my honesty and integrity. You are not following council rules,” Karl said.
Kropp said he wants to see council meetings run as a professional business.
“We all need to be better than we have been. All of us need to treat each other with class and dignity and run these meetings like a real business,” Kropp said. “We are all in this together. I want people to perceive us as a classy town with dignity.”
Kropp said input from council, the administration and the public on issues is crucial.
Kline said it was a good sign council was able to get work done at Tuesday’s meeting. Previous meetings saw agenda items tabled or voted down.