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Dover’s embattled mayor a no-show at Council meeting

| March 22, 2022
Dover residents pack Council Chambers for Monday's meeting.

DOVER (WJER) (March 22, 2022) – Mayor Rick Homrighausen was absent from Monday’s City Council meeting.

It’s been about a week and a half since a Tuscarawas County Grand Jury indicted Homrighausen on 15 criminal counts, including theft from office, and he has yet to address the charges.

Council members Monday said Homrighausen’s absence extends beyond meetings and is threatening to hurt city functions more than it already has.

“The individual departments are all still doing their job, and they’re doing a good job,” Council President Shane Gunnoe said, “but there’s nobody at the top that’s supervising properly.”

“I always support our departments – police, fire, service, electric,” Councilman Greg Bair said. “They do an excellent job. There are really good people here in the city of Dover; we just don’t have the leadership.”

Councilman Bob Mueller said the city pays Homrighausen just under $100,000 a year “to stay at home and not do his job.”

Citizens packed Council Chambers, but most didn’t speak. After, some were critical of the mayor – “It’s too bad they can’t stop his paychecks; I’d bet he’d resign in a hurry” – and the city service department – “[Former Service Director Dave Douglas] was there within a half hour to an hour. Now, no one shows up.”

Council members also criticized the mayor’s hand-picked service director Aaron Feller. Homrighausen hired him after firing Douglas in December. Council reduced Feller’s hours to 20 a week at $15 an hour.

“I pulled his timesheet for last week, and he worked one hour. He reported one hour,” Gunnoe said of Feller. “A number of people have expressed frustration with not being able to get ahold of him. Along with the concerns about the mayor, that makes it even worse.”

Councilman Justin Perkowski said a resident looking for Feller found an empty, unlocked Service Department office with the lights off. Bair said an email to Feller came back immediately with an “out of office” reply instructing the sender to contact the mayor.

“Good luck,” Gunnoe remarked.

Council members and the law director discussed ways to remove the mayor from office. They involve either the special prosecutor handling the indictment or a group of citizens presenting a case to a judge.

Council and the law director also reminded those in attendance that the mayor’s upcoming court dates are open to the public at the County Courthouse.

Homrighausen has an arraignment hearing March 30 at 1 p.m.

In a separate case, he has a hearing April 10 at 10 a.m. over a temporary restraining order he is seeking against the city. He wants to stop Council from bringing back three employees he fired.

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