NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) — On Tuesday, Kenneth Kline will officially resign from his position as Newton Falls mayor and start a new job as a supervisor with the Juvenile Justice Center in Portage County.
Kline says the job offer was too good to pass up.
According to the Ohio Revised Code, he can’t have this job and hold an elected office, but he’ll still live in the village.
“I hope I didn’t let anybody down. There are a lot of people that need somebody to, you could say fight for them, you know — that’s an overused term, have their best interests at heart, their back,” Kline said. “I know there are a lot of people that feel I do and I did, and I feel sorry for those individuals that depended on me.”
Monday evening, he turned in his notice to the city manager. That same day, he sent an email to the Trumbull County Board of Elections telling them he wouldn’t be rerunning as mayor.
Currently, he and Dave Hanson are the only ones on the ballot for the position. Kline’s name will still appear on the ballot but voters will be told a vote for him won’t count.
“I was looking forward to serve with the next group that’s gonna be in there,” Kline said. “It looks like a group to me that doesn’t have their own agenda.”
According to Kline, John Baryak, who serves as vice chair, will take over mayoral duties while also maintaining his council position. However, he can only vote as one, meaning not as mayor but as a council member.
“So, Dave Hanson will be elected to be the mayor of Newton Falls on November 7, and right after they verify the vote, he’ll take office then,” Kline said.
As for the direction of the village, Kline hopes they have a forensic audit done and can see what can be done about bringing the police department back. He’d also like to see the parks improved.
“They’re not safe for the kids,” Kline said. “You’ve got to fix the sidewalks, and in our downtown area, you know, fix it up. Budget, actually have a budget to see what roads we can afford to get fixed and things like that. That would be my hope.”
He also hopes those coming after him don’t forget why they ran or forget the promises they made.
“I always have raised my kids to, you know, not ever let little kids down and don’t disappoint these seniors. There isn’t one thing I’m going to miss the most, but it’s just, we really don’t have people to look up to out there anymore,” Kline said. “I just really wanted to be that for my community.”
Kline served as mayor since he was elected in 2019. Before that, he was a pastor and also the chair of the Trumbull County GOP. For him, it has always been about service, which is something he hopes to take into his next role.
“My hopes are that I can touch their lives, and I can help them not to either come back here again or end up taking the next step and end up in the adult big house,” Kline said.
Kline thanks Newton Falls for supporting him.
“It’s been just a dream to be the mayor of the community that I love so much,” Kline said.