East Cleveland Mayor, Council President Face Recall Votes

East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton speaks at a 2015 public meeting.
East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton speaks at a 2015 public meeting. (Nick Castele / ideastream)
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by Nick Castele

Voters in East Cleveland will decide on Tuesday whether to remove the mayor and city council president from office—the latest in a series of attempts to recall the city's leadership.

Residents unhappy with Mayor Gary Norton’s management of East Cleveland have tried several times to recall him. But those attempts didn’t gather enough valid petition signatures to put the issue on the ballot. 

This time is different, and voters will have a chance to unseat the mayor.

Council President Thomas Wheeler also faces a recall the same day. It’s the third attempt to knock him out of office. Wheeler survived recall votes in December last year and June this year.

Recall campaigners say they're frustrated over the sale of city-owned land to a recycling company that has piled debris from demolished houses next to a neighborhood street. 

Norton and Wheeler released a series of videos on the city website highlighting new development and the demolition of vacant buildings.

The mayor and council president have advocated for the city to enter merger talks with neighboring Cleveland. Many leaders of the recall say East Cleveland should remain independent. 

In 2012, the state of Ohio declared East Cleveland to be in fiscal emergency, and state auditors have been monitoring the city budget over the past few years. 

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