NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) – A Trumbull County Judge ruled November’s election to fill a vacant council seat in Newton Falls was properly held.
Judge Andrew Logan filed the entry Thursday in favor of Tesa Spletzer, who won the 3rd Ward council seat during the 2020 General Election, with more than 67% of the vote.
Spletzer’s challenger Lyle Waddell filed the lawsuit in late-November, challenging the validity of the election.
Waddell claimed it went against the village’s charter, which he says required the election for the unexpired term to be held in 2021.
In October 2019, Waddell resigned as mayor and was appointed to the vacant 3rd ward seat for the unexpired term.
Spletzer says she’s ecstatic about the judge’s ruling and thanked the voters for their support.
“This is just another step in the right direction of bringing accountability, transparency and fiscally responsible leadership to Newton Falls, which we’re in desperate need of. The people of Newton Falls deserve better,” Spletzer said.
Waddell’s attorney, Mark Mikhaiel, said he respects the judge’s decision but doesn’t agree with it.
“We think the opinion misses the mark, requiring the Newton Falls Charter to include special language relating to the regular municipal election as opposed to what is already found in the revised code,” Mikhaiel said.
He went on to say that he and Waddell are weighing their options and are considering bringing the case to the Ohio Supreme Court.