JOHNSTOWN, Ohio (WCMH) – The city of Johnstown will soon be without a mayor and city council president. Mayor Chip Dutcher and Council President Marvin Block were recalled in a special election held last week.
Tuesday night was the city’s first council meeting since the election. Dutcher and Block still hold their positions until election results are certified.
“We the people last Tuesday stood up and sent a message. A very powerful message. We fired the mayor and president of council,” said Abe Haroon, the former police chief in Johnstown.
Three different speakers, including Haroon and the city’s former director of finance, made it clear they are not happy with city leadership. Some did not think Dutcher and Block should have even been a part of the meeting.
“You had the opportunity in February to apologize and resign in a dignified manner. Instead, there you sit and its despicable,” said Dana Steffan, former Director of Finance in Johnston, about Block.
More than 70% of voters voted to recall Dutcher. More than 75% voted to recall Block.
“Until the vote is certified, they had every right to be here and sit in their positions,” said Jack Liggett, City Manager of Johnstown.
The remaining council members will appoint residents to the soon-to-be-open seats. Liggett says council will likely ask for applications at its next meeting. He is calling for the community to come together as the city gets ready for Intel to come to neighboring New Albany. The ceremonial groundbreaking with President Biden is Friday.
“We need to come together and move forward as a unified city and prepare for the growth and the good things that can come out of Intel coming to our community,” said Liggett.
Dutcher and Block declined to comment after the meeting. Block asked council to consider forming a committee with residents to, “start the healing process for Johnstown.”