Fall River City Council votes to temporarily remove Mayor Correia
By: Brittany Comak
FALL RIVER, Mass. (WLNE) - Embattled Mayor Jasiel Correia will have to vacate the mayor's office by the end of this week, following a vote by the city council to temporarily relieve him of his mayoral duties.
However the move is expected to face legal challenges.
Ultimately the council voted 8–1 in favor of invoking the city charter and temporarily removing the mayor from office.
"It's time to vote! Put it away, Mr. Mayor! Take a vacation," said City Councilor Leo Pelletier before the vote.
City Councilor Steven Camara was the lone no vote to remove the mayor. He called it a question of legality, saying tax payers will be paying for the legal battle for a long time.
He also mentioned that voters will have their say during next week's primary.
"Ultimately and finally, he can be removed from office, within a very short time, and that's the power of the people," said Camara.
But councilors Tuesday said even if he doesn't survive the September election he would still be mayor until the end of the year, if they didn't vote to oust him.
"If we do not take this vote, this city's going to pay a higher price," said Councilor Bradford Kilby.
Before Tuesday's meeting, Mayor Correia called the vote and possible outcome illegal, and the allegations against him totally false.
"I'll be at work tomorrow and their vote is invalid," said Correia.
Council President Cliff Ponte said after the vote that Correia will likely file an injunction to keep him from assuming the role of acting mayor, and a judge will have to decide if the actions of the council were correct.
"Anybody can step into city hall at any point in time, but he's not going to be utilizing the office of mayor for any more personal gain than he already has alleged," said Ponte.
In addition to that item tonight, a resolution demanding Correia resign also passed by an 8-1 vote, and a resolution to open an independent investigation into the allegations against Correia passed unanimously.
For now, he's still on the ballot for next week's primary.