Fall River City Council to vote whether or not to remove Mayor Correia Tuesday night
By: Brittany Comak
FALL RIVER, Mass. (WLNE) - The Fall River City Council will vote whether or not to invoke the city charter and temporarily remove Mayor Jasiel Correia of his duties Tuesday night.
City Council President Cliff Ponte wrote a letter to Correia announcing his plan to amend the agenda for the vote.
"The Residents of Fall River deserve to have a government they can trust. Restoring that trust needs to be a top priority," Ponte wrote.
The letter follows a chorus of people calling on the mayor to resign following new allegations of extortion and bribery.
"If he doesn't want to do that, then I will do whatever's in my power, and I think the council will do whatever's in their power to force that to happen," said Councilor Stephen Long.
City Councilor Bradford Kilby tells ABC 6 there will be three items before the council Tuesday night.
One resolution requests that the mayor resign, and another would require an independent investigation into the allegations.
A third item would invoke the city charter. According to Ponte, that part of the charter reads: "The city council, by the affirmative vote of 7 members, shall determine whether the mayor is unable to perform the duties of the office. The vote shall take place in public session by a roll call vote."
The Fall River City Charter indicates that if the majority vote is 7 "yeas", the mayor will be temporarily relieved of his duties, and an acting mayor would then stand in his place until the charges are withdrawn.
If the charges are withdrawn, at that time, Correia will resume his duties.
"It's a real sad time for the city. And it's really tested a lot of us," Kilby said Monday.
"I take no pleasure in this.
The council made this same effort to remove Mayor Correia almost a year ago when he was first indicted on charges of fraud in his private business dealings, but not enough council members voted for it.
"I voted in favor of it the last time," said Long. "I'm still in favor of him resigning – I think he should."
Councilor Kilby says he's confident the vote will go through this time around, given that these allegations involve the city.
"This time, with this second arrest, it is absolutely related to his functions as Mayor of Fall River," said Kilby.
So far, five of the nine councilors have confirmed to ABC 6 they plan to vote to remove the mayor.
Councilors Cadime, Viveiros, Joseph Camara, and Stephen Camara did not immediately respond to our request for comment Monday night.
Mayor Correia also did not return our request for comment.