By Ed Runyan
Less than a month after the mayor of Newton Falls, Pat Layshock, was recalled at the polls, another petition has been submitted to the Trumbull County Board of Elections seeking to recall 4th Ward Councilman Jim Luonuansuu.
Phillip Beer, a former councilman, submitted both petitions.
Jodi Fiorenzo Dibble, deputy director of the elections board, said Beer submitted 77 signatures on his petitions. The charter requires that 53 valid signatures be submitted for the matter to be eligible to go before voters.
Though the elections board checks the signa-tures for validity, Jim Saker, an assistant county prosecutor, will be checking to see whether the petition meets legal requirements, Fiorenzo Dibble said.
If the petition is valid, it will go before the elections board at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 4 for possible certification.
The city would be required to set an election date 30 to 40 days from the date of certification.
Anyone wishing to be on the ballot as a candidate for the council position in the event that Luonuansuu is recalled will have until 20 days before the election to submit a petition to get on the ballot, Fiorenzo Dibble said.
“You’re put in by the people, and under state law and the charter, they can recall you,” Luonuansuu said.
However, Luonuansuu said he believes the cost of the election to the city — about $800 to $900, according to the board of elections — seems unnecessary when his term runs only through the end of 2011 anyway.
Luonuansuu was elected to council in November 2009.
Luonuansuu said he’s been receiving many phone calls of support and doesn’t believe the majority of people want to see him removed.
Beer said he organized the Luonuansuu petition drive because Luonuansuu is part of a voting bloc that wants to get rid of City Manager Jack Haney and Police Chief John Kuivila.
Getting elected may be the only way to stop the firings, which will cost the city large sums of money and cause unnecessary hardship for two high-quality officials, Beer said.
“These people are going to bankrupt the city,” Beer said of Luonuansuu and others.