Dover mayor suspended, Probate Court judge to pick interim office holder
DOVER (WJER) (May 4, 2022) – A special commission of the Ohio Supreme Court Wednesday officially ruled to suspend Dover Mayor Richard Homrighausen.
Probate Court Judge Adam Wilgus is responsible for appointing an interim mayor.
Press release from Judge Wilgus: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE City of Dover Ohio – Interim Mayor Position – Final
He is accepting resumes and cover letters up until 4 p.m. May 10th at the Probate Court office on East High Avenue in New Philadelphia. Wilgus in a press release said he has assembled a committee of Dover residents to review the resumes, narrow it down to two candidates, and then Wilgus will pick from the two.
Homrighausen last week said he would not fight the suspension. He is facing a Sept. 20th jury trial in a grand jury indictment accusing him of felony theft in office among 15 criminal counts. Homirghausen says he’s innocent. The paid suspension would continue until he is found not guilty. A guilty verdict on the theft in office charge would disqualify Homrighausen from serving as mayor or in any public office.
The suspension ruling from the special commission says it determined that Homrighausen’s alleged conduct adversely affects the right and interests of the public.
Special Commission ruling: Final Determination – Homrighausen 3.16 Commission
Officials hope city business isn’t impacted
Dover officials are hoping the process for appointing an interim mayor doesn’t delay any pressing matters facing the city. City Council President Shane Gunnoe says he hopes the interviews and deliberations don’t take too long.
“Obviously, there is a little bit of concern because we want to make sure we’re getting our urgent business taken care of,” Gunnoe said. “We have AFSCME negotiations, which is our largest labor union. Those negotiations are due to commence very quickly… We have, obviously, legislation and permits and contracts and purchase orders and those type of things that typically go through the office of the mayor.”
Gunnoe says city officials haven’t discussed if any of them would apply. He says they want to get past this.
“We’re looking to get back to traditional business,” he said. “Quite frankly, we’re looking to try to restore some pride to our community. There’s a lot of good things going on in Dover, but until we can really move beyond this, these issues, it’s really hard to get that out to the community and let them know all the good things the city of Dover is doing.”
There are also questions about Homrighausen’s two appeals and two lawsuits against the city trying to block Council’s reinstatement of three employees he fired.
“That may be a question for the court: if he can continue to appeal and file those suits in his capacity as mayor when he is effectively suspended by the Ohio Supreme Court,” Gunnoe said. “I expect that to be an issue raised at some point.”
Ohio Revised Code says Homrighausen will be paid during the suspension. It also says the city can try to recover that money if he’s found guilty.