According to a Fall River Reporter poll, 76 percent of the participants felt Mayor Correia should step down. Getting the Fall River City Council to make him do so, however, is not as simple as it appears.
It has been well documented that from a legal standpoint, the City Council should have concerns if they plan on temporarily removing the Mayor based on Section 3-8 of the City’s Charter. According to a document Fall River Reporter received from City Council member Steve Camara, the city would not only have to deal with legal ramifications, but financial ones as well.
Councilor Camara requested an estimate from Corporation Counsel Joseph Macy as to what the cost could be to the city if Mayor Correia took legal action against the City Council should he be removed by a motion that declares the Mayor unable to perform his duties. Since the Mayor’s representatives have already stated that a lawsuit would be forthcoming, a cost would be guaranteed. The only other matter that is left to consider is how much the bill could come to. According to Macy, it won’t be cheap.
Macy estimates the total cost would come in between $330,000 and $420,000 when everything is said and done. If the City Council decides that it’s a price tag that they are willing to have the city pay, the next question to answer would be where will the money come from? Maybe free cash. Maybe budget cuts, but it would need to come from somewhere.
Another option, which the process has already begun, is a recall election.
If the Council does nothing and decides to let a possible recall process take its course, the city will still have money to account for should the special election come to fruition. The $60,000 price tag based off of the Flanagan recall is an easier pill to swallow, however, than a bill that could approach almost a half million.
There is a group of Correia supporters who strongly feel that the Mayor is innocent until proven guilty and therefore should continue to serve his term. Even though a decent amount of residents are concerned about the city’s reputation and the Mayor’s ability to lead under the circumstances, a recall election could not only give supporters and detractors alike a voice in the process, but save the city money as well.