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0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a4f90000Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time.

Loveland Mayor Resigns; Avoids Recall Ballot Issue

City of Loveland website
Former Loveland Mayor Mark Fitzgerald

Facing a recall election in November, Mark Fitzgerald resigned as Loveland's mayor at a special meeting of city council Monday night.

Once a citizens' group called Loveland Community Heartbeat, a political action committee, filed petitions last week with more than enough signatures to place the recall on the ballot, Fitzgerald had five days under Ohio election to resign or face recall in the November election.

He chose to resign by the deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Monday.  Fitzgerald had called for Monday's special meeting of council.

A news release issued by the office of the Loveland city manager said Fitzgerald submitted a letter to the clerk of council citing the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which sets term limits for the president and similar term limits for state offices as his reason for resigning.

"Ten years is a long time to serve in an elected position,'' Fitzgerald said in the letter. "If it is good policy for the country and the state, it should be applied to Loveland Council as well."

Loveland Community Heartbeat mounted the recall drive because they claimed that Fitzgerald conducted city business behind closed doors, without input from the public or other council members – a charge the mayor denied.

Credit City of Loveland website
New Loveland Mayor Angie Settell

After his resignation Monday night, council elected Angie Settell as mayor and Pam Gross as vice mayor. It is the first time both positions have been held by women.

Council now has 30 days to agree on a successor to Fitzgerald's seat on council or Settell will appoint a new council member. Fitzgerald's successor will fill out his term, which ends on Dec. 1, 2019.

In the statement released by the city, Settell expressed regret over Fitzgerald's resignation.

"Hopefully this closes a sad and devastating chapter in Loveland,'' Settell said. "What happened to Mark was nothing short of a travesty and miscarriage of precisely why recalls are allowed in Loveland.

"Now it is time to turn the page, move forward and continue Loveland's amazing upward momentum,'' Settell said.