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Chesapeake mayor refutes claims made in recall petition

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 9:24 PM EDT
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CHESAPEAKE, Ohio. (WSAZ) - On Tuesday, a petition to recall Chesapeake Mayor Kimberley Oldaker was ruled invalid by the Lawrence County Board of Elections.

Recall petitions are only valid if a municipality has a charter specifically allowing them, which Chesapeake, Ohio, does not.

However, the petitioners cited what they believed to be grounds for removal:

  • Malfeasance in office and neglect of duty to provide oversight of Village
  • No appointment of Street Commissioner which put public safety of our residents at risk
  • Allowing Fire Department contract to lapse and expire, putting residents at ricks and possible absence of fire protection
  • Failure to turn in appropriations and year-end report to County Auditor
  • Failure to maintain regular business hours to allow public records requests or availability for inspection of public records to any person at all reasonable times
  • Lack of leadership skills resulting in failure to comply with O.R.C.

Oldaker refutes all of those claims and says she believes the village is moving in a positive direction.

“I feel the grounds for removal was only directed at myself, when council members are the ones responsible for the contracts to be approved, like with the fire department. The fiscal officer is in charge of the appropriations and having those sent to the county auditor,” Oldaker said.

The mayor also mentioned that the village did not have an appointed street commissioner before she took office, and that business hours were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We do have regular business hours, but since I have taken office, COVID has hit everyone and we’ve had to adjust our hours for that reason,” Oldaker said.

The Board of Elections says petitioners are welcome to pursue other options. If they choose to do so, they would have to run the recall through the court system instead. Oldaker believes the petition may stem from more than just her performance as mayor, and that the community may be afraid of change.

“My door is always open, and we want people to come into our office to talk about the change that is coming. We feel it is better for the community,” the mayor said.

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