Fall River recall election set for March 12

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WLNE) — The Fall River City Council voted 8 to 1 Wednesday night to set March 12 as the date for an election to recall Mayor Jasiel Correia.

“We’re very satisfied to see this moving along. This was the right thing to do,” said recall spokesperson Joseph Pereira.

The move comes after election officials certified more than 4,000 signatures supporting the Mayor’s removal, following his indictment on federal fraud and tax evasion charges linked to his Sno-Owl app.

“We have a lack of stability. There’s no way, at least in my own personal opinion, that he’s able to focus 100 percent on his job and duties as mayor under a 13-count federal indictment,” said City Council President Cliff Ponte.

In an interview last week, Correia said he is not distracted at all.

“Is this stuff that’s happening to me very unfortunate and very difficult to deal with? Of course it is but at the same time I’ve done a good job as mayor,” said Correia.

So far the Mayor has challenged the Council and the recall petitioners over this process.

“The mayor is challenging the signatures, the method by which we obtained those signatures,” said Pereira. “I believe anything can happen. Is it possibly going to taint the election? I don’t know.”

“It appears to me and it appears to the community that the council is unfazed, totally unfazed by that, and at this point we’re moving forward with the recall election,” said Ponte.

Councilor Steve Camara expressed concern at Wednesday night’s meeting that this is all moving too fast.

“I do believe that when the process is pushed through without due deliberation, that is what I refer to as mob rule,” said Camara.

But those calling for Correia’s ouster say the sooner, the better.

“Justice delayed is justice denied. And the longer it drags out the more of a chance of it falling apart and no justice being served. I think we need to move along,” said Pereira.

As for the potential candidates for the recall election, Council President Cliff Ponte says he probably will not run, though he also says he hasn’t made a decision yet. Also, former Mayor Sam Sutter has said he’s considering a run, but there is no official word from him either.

Candidates have until February 6 to file their paperwork with the city. If Mayor Correia is voted out March 12, his replacement could be sworn in as soon as the next day.

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