Citizen Takes Action, Council Does Not, to Remove Mayor Correia
FALL RIVER — Prior to Fall River City Councilors taking the floor to voice their opinions on a possible effort to ouster embattled mayor Jasiel Correia, resident Dawn Saurette warned she would take action if the Council did not.
"I've started the process for a recall just this afternoon before coming in here," declared Saurette in the council chambers Tuesday night.
Saurette said she feared the city would suffer if Jasiel Correia, under federal indictment, continued to govern.
"Nothing gets done if nobody wants to do business with you. And I'm very concerned that going forward our city is looked upon now with great scrutiny. Because as long as this mayor is sitting, while he's fighting for his freedom, I don't believe that he can fight for us, and no one is going to take him seriously."
Councilor Shawn Cadime was the first of the body to speak, immediately presenting a motion to temporarily remove Jasiel Correia as mayor, having Council President Cliff Ponte serve in the position, until the charges against Correia are resolved.
Cadime's motion, under the City's Charter, would deem Correia unable to carry out his duties as mayor. Cadime quoted Correia, who earlier Tuesday spoke about how he is personally coping with the federal charges he faces.
"It is intimidating. It is scary. It has drained me financially, mentally, and physically," Cadime said, citing Mayor Correia.
However, Corporate Council Joseph Macy warned the council in his opinion that the Charter rule would not apply in this case, and said if the council voted to pass the motion, they would face a lawsuit from Correia.
"Inevitably, if you take the course you're talking about, we're going to wind up in court," said Macy.
Heeding Macy's advice, Councilor Steven Camara argued that the rule is too vague, and passage of the motion would prove too costly for the City.
"I'd rather see that money spent on people, on streets and sidewalks and other things that are meaningful, rather than on a bunch of lawyers going to court to fight over something that's going to be resolved," exclaimed Camara.
Prior to a vote on the motion, Camara objected, ending discussion on the motion for the night.
A second motion looked to request Correia to voluntarily resign, something Councilor Leo Pelletier pleaded for.
"Jasiel, do the right thing for the City of Fall River, for your family, and for everybody else. Step down for now," said Pelletier.
However, Camara objected to that motion, as well, and to another motion to take a vote of "no confidence" in Mayor Correia.
The Council could take up discussion on all three motions again at their next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, October 23.