Wauseon Mayor Kathy Huner announced at the March 16 council meeting that she would not begin the proceedings to initiate the removal of Councilor Martin Estrada.
Huner said that under Section 11.01 of the Charter a vote of three-quarters of the council members would be necessary to remove Estrada. Because Estrada would not be permitted to vote, four out of five of the remaining council members would have to vote in favor of removal. However, during council’s deliberation on the matter at least two council members have made it clear that they do not intend to vote in favor of removing Estrada should the process be initiated.
“I, therefore, believe that it would be fruitless and a waste of council’s and the city’s time to embark on the removal process that cannot possibly succeed,” she said. “It is now time to for this council to move on to the important business of the city. As far as I am concerned the matter is now behind us,” she continued.
Prior to Huner announcing her decision, two Wauseon citizens, Rebecca Martinez and Harold Stickey addressed council in regard to the issue with Estrada’s appointment.
“This whole situation has brought a negative spotlight to this community,” said Martinez. “As a registered voter and citizen I ask the council to bring this issue back to the table and again vote based off what the charter states, not personal opinions, not personal agendas and do what is right,” she continued.
“You’ve refused [to resign]. So with that you put it up to these council people and the mayor to do your dirty work,” said Stickey. “So you’re asking these people to come back in the election (three of you are up for election) and answer to the people of this town, city for your wrongdoing,” he continued imploring Estrada to resign.
Estrada was appointed to fill the unexpired term of the late Don Matthews, which expires December 31, 2015. When he was sworn in to office on September 2, 2014, he was not an electorate of Wauseon, which is a violation of the city charter. While Estrada was a Wauseon citizen, he was registered to vote in Wood County until September 11, when he transferred his voter registration to his Wauseon address.
Councilor Jeff Stiriz stated that his reasoning behind bringing the issue to council’s attention was to uphold the integrity of the charter and because he didn’t want to get in trouble down the road if someone contests an issue that Estrada voted on.
“There is some oversight that took place here [during the appointment process] and it is shared by many,” said Councilor Shane Chamberlin a prior meeting. Councilor Jon Schamp agreed that the mistake was shared and said that council advertised publicly for council applicants without stating the need to be an electorate.
At the March 2 meeting, Stiriz, Council President Heather Kost and Councilor Rick Frey voted in favor initiating removal proceedings, while Chamberlin and Schamp both voted against. Estrada abstained.
Chamberlin and Stiriz are both running for re-election in November. Estrada is not running for re-election because he failed to file the valid number of signatures with his petition. In addition, to incumbents Chamberlin and Stiriz, Scott Stiriz will also be on the ballot in November.
Shar may be reached at