Loveland Mayor Resigns; Avoids Recall Ballot Issue
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.
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.