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CAMPBELL Council candidate says he met the rules



Published: Sun, October 7, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A candidate for council president said he's lived in Campbell since January 1997.

By PAUL WHEATLEY

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CAMPBELL -- Joseph M. Fusillo says he meets the city's requirements to challenge for the city council presidency in the upcoming Nov. 6 election, despite protests by current council President Robert P. Yankle.

Yankle notified the board in a letter dated July 31 that Fusillo did not meet the city's residency requirement and therefore should be kept off the ballot.

Yankle believes, after checking the date on his voter registration card, that Fusillo became a Campbell resident on Sept. 9, 1999.

What law says: Campbell requires that candidates live in the city at least two years before running for office.

"I don't mind having anybody running," said Yankle. "But let's do it the right way."

But Fusillo says he's been a resident of Campbell since January 1997, when he purchased his Tenney Avenue home, even though he didn't register to vote until later.

A city occupancy permit in Fusillo's name confirms the January 1997 date.

Deadline missed: Either way, Tom McCabe, deputy director of the board of elections, said the board has relaxed its policy regarding petitions and Yankle missed Campbell's July 23 protest deadline anyway.

The board used to screen petitions for strict compliance, taking names off the ballot for any mistake. But now it uses a substantial compliance method, which allows for minor mistakes as long as the candidate has a good excuse and has not misled people into signing petitions.

McCabe said Yankle can file a contest of election with Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, after the election, if he still has issues with Fusillo's residency.

"At this point, really, the board's out of it," said McCabe.

It's OK: Fusillo said he isn't going to start slinging mud at his competitor and doesn't think the mix-up will put him at a disadvantage come election day.

Yankle said he has never met Fusillo.

"Two years from now, if he wants to run, God bless him," said Yankle, who was appointed to the position as council president about a year ago.

wheatley@vindy.com




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