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Repeated Falls recalls are illogical

Here we go again.

Dissatisfied with their council representation, residents in Newton Falls, once again, have filed petitions to recall an elected official. This time the target is 4th Ward Councilwoman Sandra Breymaier.

More than 200 people signed the petition. According to the village’s charter, 135 signatures would have been required to send the issue to the ballot.

These residents apparently have a problem with Breymaier’s conduct at meetings and her representation of the 4th Ward.

She’s also been criticized because of her votes on various pieces of legislation.

We get it. This is America and people have a right to speak up and be heard. That is something we always will support.

What we don’t support, however, is the continued seemingly knee-jerk and haphazard attempts to recall elected officials in this village.

Frankly, recall attempts are way-too-frequent occurrences in what, from the outside, appears to be a quaint, friendly little river town.

Here are just a few examples of past attempts to recall Newton Falls officials:

l In 2019, voters defeated an attempt to recall Falls Councilman John Baryak. The attempt was launched by then-4th Ward Councilman Phillip Beer and former 2nd Ward Councilwoman Nancy Hoffman alleging misfeasance and inappropriate spending of taxpayer money.

l Residents might remember that three Newton Falls council members were recalled from office successfully in the early 1990s after becoming a target of citizens who claimed they were holding illegal meetings and ignoring the concerns of their constituents.

In Newton Falls, even when recalls aren’t on the ballot, the idea seems constantly to be bantered about.

Some might describe the long contentious history involving constituents and their elected officials as “direct participation” in local government. Indeed it is.

But isn’t there a better option at remedying council actions with which residents disagree?

We are pleased to see residents in Newton Falls already speaking out. Meetings, which have moved online like so many public meetings during this pandemic, have seen excellent participation by the public.

Bravo to everyone who takes such hands-on interest in local government!

Of course, citizens have every right to voice opinions and call for matters to be done differently. We are blessed to live in a free society where we may speak out, debate and disagree. That’s healthy when it’s done respectfully.

If constituents are so appalled with government action or behavior, then we call on them to speak out even louder by campaigning against those elected officials the next time they come up for re-election.

Moving for recall elections or referendums are costly, time consuming and illogical.

editorial@tribtoday.com

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