East Cleveland Begins Handover Of Power After Recall

Gary Norton (l) and Brandon King at city hall two days after recall. [photo: Matt Richmond / ideastream]
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East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton provided details of the city’s handover of power Thursday, two days after he lost a recall election by twenty votes. City council president Thomas Wheeler’s deficit in his recall election is even smaller.

“Because that election is so close, we will hold off until December 27th and wait the 21 days to ensure East Cleveland that the election results are final, the election results are certified and the appropriate individuals enter the mayor’s office and leave council or stay on council," said Norton during a press conference at city hall.

If Wheeler survives the recall, he would become mayor. If he leaves office, Council Vice President Brandon King will be mayor until next year’s regular mayoral election. Norton said the government’s business will continue without interruption while the mayor’s office and any openings on council are filled.

In August, East Cleveland took the first step toward a merger with Cleveland – appointing three commissioners to negotiate on the city’s behalf.Norton and Wheeler both supported annexation. King was asked about the future of the merger on Thursday.

“I think when you look at that issue, that’s something that is not over and it will continue to be discussed. And I think that’s probably going to be my only comment on that," said King.

The ordinance appointing commissioners to study annexation expired before the City of Cleveland chose its representatives. According to a Cleveland city council spokesperson, the city has not received a new list of merger commissioners so East Cleveland’s council would have to pass a new ordinance to restart the merger process. East Cleveland has been in fiscal emergency since 2012. 

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