After an online petition, mayor of Wickliffe talks about possible recall election

Updated: Oct. 5, 2020 at 4:13 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Mayor John Barbish is fighting for his job tonight.

An online Petition is the reason behind a possible recall election that could decide his future.

Barbish says it all stems from leaf pick-up.

Barbish says simmering opposition to his leadership boiled over following his policy for leaf pick-up.

“People will fill their lawns with leaves and the city will pick them up. I made the decision last year to remove that again. I have rescinded that decision as of last week and made some alterations, so we will continue the service," he said.

Dan Kable, the man who started the petition, said he was not available for an in-person or Zoom interview.

He said the problem goes further than just leaf pick-up.

He did send us this statement, which, in part said:

“The goal of this effort other than removing the mayor was to inform residents of the Mayor’s poor decisions trying or succeeding in wasting tax dollars on things that do not help residents or businesses, all while cutting low cost services to the residents that rely on them such as $18K for leaf pickup.”

The mayor said he wants residents to know his side of the story.

“We don’t even know if we’ll have a recall election. I don’t think it’s going to come into fruition, and if it does, that’s the reason we’re here today. I’m here to make sure the good people of Wickliffe know and I think a lot of them already do, that I am working hard for the betterment of this city," said the mayor.

Kable’s statement went on to say:

“We submitted this petition on Tuesday, September 29th with 939 signatures of which 881 were non duplicate registered voters. We needed 850 signatures. The council clerk has up to 10 days to validate the signatures and if valid, council must call an election for the removal of the mayor within 60 to 75 days.”

This whole thing flared up In January and the enforcement of marijuana laws was at the center of it.

The mayor wrote an email to the chief of police, calling it “a complete waste of resources” and “ridiculous” to write citations for a gram of pot.

The chief told us he was initially upset by the mayor’s decision, but he said he’s changed his mind.

“So it’s had no effect on us as far as enforcing, making arrests for serious crimes. Have we missed a few minor misdemeanors for nothing else other than just somebody possessing marijuana? Yes. But that’s not had an effect on my ability to keep Wickliffe safe," said the chief.

The petition also touches on that as one of the many reasons why the mayor should be removed.

“As safety director, ignoring ordinances, even promoting the behavior that these ordinances were created against, such as not allowing police seizure and charging of people with 100 grams of marijuana, promoting residential fireworks, not allowing police to issue citations or confiscating potentially dangerous explosives.”

In the end, it’s not a done deal yet as to whether there will be a recall vote.

At this hour, they’re still counting the number of valid signatures on the petition.

We’ll keep you posted.

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