DOVER (WJER) (April 27, 2022) – Mayor Richard Homrighausen says he has been suspended from office.
Attorney Mark DeVan emailed a press release to local media outlets Wednesday that says Homrighausen has been informed he is suspended as mayor of Dover by a special commission appointed by State Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor.
The press release is addressed to the citizens of Dover. Homrighasen Press Release 4-24-2022
Homrighausen says he will comply with the suspension but maintains his innocence. He has pleaded not guilty to a 15-count grand jury indictment.
A jury trial is scheduled for Sept. 20. The suspension would last at least through that trial.
Dover Law Director Doug O’Meara says he hasn’t received confirmation of the suspension from the supreme court and won’t comment on it. He did outline what would happen in the mayor’s office if Homrighausen is suspended.
“Once the order is issued where a mayor is suspended, the process is that the petition is filed with the Tuscarawas County Court of Common Pleas Probate Court requesting the court issue an order appointing an interim mayor for the duration of the suspension of the mayor,” O’Meara said. “So there is no mayor until the court issues that order.”
Dover City Council President Shane Gunnoe said he was limited in what he could say because he doesn’t have official confirmation. He does think suspending the mayor is the right decision.
“Generally speaking, I think it’s the right thing to do for the city,” Gunnoe said. “The trial itself and the issues surrounding the mayor are an incredible distraction to city government. To me, it’s the right decision for him to make to accept that suspension pending the trial so the city of Dover can continue to function in a more proper manner.”
Homrighausen in his press release encouraged residents to keep an eye on their city government. He says he loves Dover and looks forward to continuing to be the mayor of the “shining city on a hill” once procedures have taken their course.
Robert Smith from the state auditor’s office is prosecuting the case. In March, he asked O’Connor to create the special commission, consisting of three retired judges, to consider suspending Homrighausen as Dover’s mayor.