Battle brewing in Richmond Heights over possible mayor recall

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RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- There's a feeling of uncertainty in Richmond Heights.

The city is facing a mayoral recall election on Sept. 23, potentially removing current Mayor Miesha Headen.

"During the summer, a group of individuals got together, and they were concerned about the direction of the community. We were concerned about the negative press and concerned about the embattlement between city council and the mayor," said Carl Harmon, of Richmond Heights.

Harmon is among those who formed a petition to recall the mayor.

"We needed roughly around 730 signatures. We ended up getting over a thousand," said Harmon.

The petition was ultimately verified by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, who then scheduled the special election.

"She created a very combative environment. We felt she could not effectively due the duties of the position of the mayor of Richmond Heights," said Harmon.

"It certainly feels like I'm running for re-election again. I mean, it's a full-blown campaign, but I think it's good. It allows me to go back to the people and talk to them one-on-one, door-by-door," said Headen.

Headen faces the recall after less than a year in office.

"Since I've been in office for the past eight months, eight new retail business have come into Richmond Heights. In addition to that, we have two large businesses that have registered with the regional income tax agency that will bring in at least $50,000 a piece in income tax revenue," said Headen.

But opponents question Headen's decisions in office, as well as her transparency.

"She has multiple lawsuits involving her. She has her former assistant that is suing her, her current assistant is suing the city," said Harmon.

"I can’t talk about an active lawsuit. I will say that my attorneys will mount a vigorous defense against them," said Headen.

There's been plenty of change.

Since she took office, 18 city employees have left or been fired.

"When a new administration comes into place, particularly one that is taking over for an administration that has been in place for two decades, certain administrative changes will be made. And they should be expected to be made," said Headen.

So, question remains. Will the mayor of Richmond Heights change?

Ultimately, it's in the hands of the voters come Sept. 23.

Now if Headen is recalled, the president of city council would become mayor for the duration of the term.

Polls are open Tuesday, Sept. 23 from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.

Residents of Richmond Heights can cast their vote at the Kiwanis Lodge on Highland Road, St. Gregory of Narek Cultural Hall on Richmond Road, or the Richmond Heights Church of the Nazarene on Trebisky Road.

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