NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) – A Newton Falls councilwoman has filed a complaint in court against her fellow council members and the city’s mayor.

The case was filed Monday in Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas.

Julie Stimpert alleges that council members Gideon Fetterolf, John Baryak, Tesa Spletzer and Christopher Granchie, who recently resigned, as well as Mayor Kenneth Kline, have violated Ohio’s Open Meetings Act.

The complaint contends that the council would enter executive session, informing members of the public that they were discussing employment matters, and instead, they discussed the discipline and conduct of one of the council members — a violation of the Open Meetings Act.

Stimpert also alleges that they held a sham emergency meeting on October 11 for no other reason than to consider the hiring of a special prosecutor to bring criminal charges against a member of the public who had been removed from a meeting. This meeting was called with less than 24 hours of public notice, the lawsuit contends.

According to the complaint, they entered into an executive session during this meeting to discuss pending litigation, but the village’s law director was not present and they instead discussed whether to pursue the criminal charges.

In her filing, Stimpert adds that she has been bullied by other members of council during these private meetings, as she has been critical of their decisions. The complaint also contends that these executive sessions have been called to “covertly bully and intimidate Realtor Stimpert privately and without public scrutiny.”

The OMA requires that public officials conduct their business publicly except in certain circumstances. Stimpert says that these particular circumstances hadn’t been met when they moved into executive session.

Granchie, who is named in the complaint, says he agrees with everything Stimpert stated.

“That’s honestly why I resigned. I didn’t see any recourse to anything getting better. I didn’t see any way that anything was going to improve. The people here deserve better,” Granchie said.

WKBN reached out to Mayor Kline on Wednesday, who said he and other members of council would be unable to comment on the complaint as they are unable to comment on what is discussed during executive sessions.