ASHLAND — Ashland’s Board of Elections director said a recent attempt to remove Mifflin’s mayor could fail, based on a letter she received from the county’s top attorney.
Shannon Johnson, director of the BOE, said Thursday she received an opinion letter from Chris Tunnell that said state law does not provide a way for communities like Mifflin, a village, to recall their elected officials.
Tunnell was not immediately available to comment.
The prosecutor’s letter comes two days following Fred Craig’s filing of a petition to remove Vickie Shultz, the village’s mayor.
Tunnell’s opinion is not binding. The Ashland County Board of Elections has the ultimate say, Johnson said. She said the board meets Aug. 9 to certify candidates and ballot issues.
What ends up on November’s ballot depends on how the board’s August meeting goes.
“The board won’t likely go against (Tunnell’s) opinion, but they will have to vote on that,” she said.
Craig, 64, of Mifflin said the mayor is still being receiving a $2,200 stipend after voters elected to reduce the yearly payment. He also said Shultz did not notify the village of violations found by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in a 2019 inspection report.
Shultz was elected by a margin of 16 votes between herself and Craig in 2019.
Petitions to recall elected officials in Ohio must gather signatures equal to at least 15% of the total votes cast in the last regular municipal election within 90 days of the next election.
In Mifflin, that number was 11, because 69 people voted in the last election, Craig has said. He gathered 14 signatures for Shultz’ recall.
Shultz did not respond to requests for comment.
The village, population 132, is faced with two other petitions that Craig has also filed with the Board of Elections. One would require the village administrator to be a resident of the Village of Mifflin. The other would abolish the position of fiscal officer and create an elected position of clerk-treasurer.