Group plans to file petition seeking recall of Loveland mayor

Posted at 8:50 PM, Jul 20, 2017

LOVELAND, Ohio -- A group seeking to recall Loveland Mayor Mark Fitzgerald says they have enough signatures to get their initiative on the ballot.

Representatives from the group, Loveland Community Heartbeat PAC, said they plan to deliver more than 2,000 resident signatures to the Hamilton County Board of Elections Friday afternoon for a petition seeking to get a recall initiative in the November election.

The group has called on Fitzgerald to step down for months, accusing the mayor of not being transparent regarding the redevelopment of the city hall and other issues.

MORE: Loveland mayor refuses local PAC's call to step down

"Walking every neighborhood in Loveland to collect signatures, we have seen firsthand not only the level of distrust and disappointment throughout the community but also the high level of awareness and engagement among Loveland residents," PAC representative Halie Rebeccaschild said in a news release. "Their spirit to take action and to take back our town is nothing short of inspiring. We simply cannot let this abuse of power happen again."

Fitzgerald has disputed the group's accusations.

"They're wrong," Fitzgerald previously told 9 On Your Side. "The community improvement corporations are open meetings, and the council meetings and council work sessions which established this as a policy [are] open meetings."

In addition to Fitzgerald's ouster, the PAC aims to have the city create a new "resident-led master plan and neighborhood representation as part of any future charter revisions."

Ohio law requires a number of signatures from voters equal to at least 15 percent of the total votes case at the most recent regular election at least 90 days before an election to get the initiative on the ballot. In a news release Thursday, the group claimed their signatures more than met the requirement.

If election officials find the petition to be sufficient, Fitzgerald will have to resign within five days or run for re-election in the fall.

The PAC said one candidate already plans to run for the mayor's seat. Resident Neal Oury has gathered more than 1,500 signatures to get on the ballot, according to the group.