I’m Looking Forward to the Fall River Recall Election [OPINION]
The election for who gets to be the next mayor of Fall River for a few months is riveting. The potential candidates and their interwoven history is a Spindle City tale.
There is going to be a recall election next year in Fall River, and the winner will be the mayor for a few months. There will be another election in the fall of 2019 for a full term as the mayor.
The three major candidates who are predicted to run have all been elected mayor of their city in the last few years: former mayor and currently a successful attorney and talk show host William Flanagan, former mayor and former Bristol County District Attorney Samuel Sutter, and currently indicted and the mayor, today, of Fall River, Jasiel Correia II, are those major candidates.
Let me explain what we are looking at in this potential field of candidates.
All three are capable of winning elections and have accomplishments to point to from their time in office.
But the real fun is in their interlocking relationships and what it could mean if they all face off in the special recall election.
Flanagan was recalled in part because of an accusation made by the then-City Council member Correia. The young councilor alleged the then-mayor showed him a handgun and he felt threatened by the presence of the legal handgun in the private vehicle of the mayor. Flanagan was cleared of the allegations, but more about that in a moment.
The only reason Correia was on the City Council at that moment was that Flanagan had created a vacancy on the council by appointing a City Councilor to his new administration. Correia had been the first runner-up among the candidates who lost in the citywide election to the City Council.
That appointment and the vacancy is really why the current situation exists in Fall River today. I'm sure Flanagan, who has stayed active in local affairs through his talk radio show and his legal work, hears some version of that line daily from friends and foes alike.
The young man's complaints about feeling scared led to an investigation by a special prosecutor. The Bristol County District Attorney at the time properly passed the investigation on to another investigator to avoid an appearance of conflicting interests. The DA at the time was Sutter. He had previously employed Flanagan as a prosecutor in his office. Regardless of that relationship, it would be difficult for any district attorney to investigate the mayor of one of the largest cities in his county.
The outside investigator cleared Mayor Flanagan of the allegations made by Correia.
Mayor Flanagan was represented by attorney Kevin Reddington during the investigation of the allegations. Reddington is one of the finest and best-skilled attorneys in the United States. During the investigation of Flanagan, Reddington called on Correia to resign from the City Council.
Today, Mayor Correia is under indictment by the federal government and he has hired one of the finest and best-skilled attorneys in the United States. He is facing multiple charges of financial fraud in a private business matter that is unrelated to his official responsibilities as the mayor of Fall River. His attorney is Kevin Reddington.
Sutter became the mayor when he beat his former employee, Flanagan, in a recall election partially triggered by the allegation made by the current mayor.
Mayor Sutter was defeated just a few months later by Correia.
The current recall was triggered by the federal indictment of Mayor Correia. The current mayor blames local political opponents, including Sutter, for his prosecution by the federal government.
So it appears the last three men elected to be the mayor of Fall River may square off in a special election. And what could be better?
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.