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Firm representing Mayor Correia threatens legal action if City Council removes him using provision

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In a letter addressed to City Council President Cliff Ponte Jr, the firm representing Mayor Jasiel Correia II threatened legal action if the City Council attempts to remove him from office using the Section 3-8 provision in the City Charter.

Mark Berthiaume from the law office of Greenberg Traurig mainly addressed in his letter the Section 3-8 (a) provision which states: (a) Acting Mayor – Whenever, by reason of sickness or other cause, the mayor is unable to perform the duties of the office, the president of the city council shall be the acting mayor unless the president of the city council is unable or unwilling to serve; in such instance, the provisions of section 3-8 (c) shall apply. The city council, by the affirmative vote of 7 members, shall determine whether the mayor is unable to perform the duties of the office. The vote shall be taken in public session by a roll call vote.

Berthiaume stated that the provision deals with a mayor that is too sick or disabled to be able to perform his duties. The letter pointed out that Chairman of the Charter Commission Michael Miozza stated as much in a recent interview. Berthiaume goes on to also state that Correia has given no indication that he is unable to perform his duties.

Another topic addressed by Berthiaume in the letter referenced the Supreme Judicial Court ruling of Turner v. City of Boston where it was ruled that the City Council of Boston did not have the authority to remove a City Council member.

Berthiaume pointed out that the City Charter does allow a mayor to be recalled. Mayor Correia referenced the recall procedure in his remarks in a press conference Tuesday morning.

Berthiaume closed the letter by stating that there is no basis under section 3-8 to remove the mayor and any attempt by the City Council to do so whould result in legal action being taken.

The totality of the letter is referenced below:

2018-10-16 18-letter-to-fall-river-council-re-charter-section3-8
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