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Huber Heights mayor facing second recall attempt

Mayor Tom McMasters attributed the effort to residents who like to “start controversy.”

Five Huber Heights residents are attempting to recall first-term Mayor Tom McMasters — the second such effort in as many years — but the mayor says he welcomes the publicity as a way to boost his congressional campaign.

The individuals representing the Huber Residents for Sound Leadership PAC filed the notice this week with the Huber Heights Clerk of Council’s office, along with a $50 check to initiate the recall. This newspaper obtained the document Wednesday morning under Ohio records law.

Those individuals — Mari Caperton, Wheeler Goley, Jennifer Corbett, Kimberly Kozlowski and Daniel White — offered no explanation Wednesday for their effort, declining at this time to discuss their campaign to unseat the city’s top elected official.

“We will be coming out with a formalized statement in the near future and that’s the extent to what I want to share with you today,” White said by phone Wednesday morning. “It’s amazing how news travels in this town.”

McMasters took office in January 2014 and is serving a term expiring in December 2017, but he has made no secret of his intention to seek higher office. The mayor is an independent candidate for the U.S. House seat held by Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton.

McMasters was encouraged by the new found case of publicity.

“The more publicity you give them (the petitioners), the more my name gets out there, and there won’t be any comprehensible reason for what they’re doing,” McMasters said. “It’s unfortunate we have this element within the city that likes to start controversy.”

The Huber Residents for Sound Leadership group would need to obtain more than 1,600 valid signatures in order to put the recall on the November general election ballot.

Because of low voter turnout in the last gubernatorial general election, fewer signatures are required than the 2,043 signatures required to recall the mayor during a previous, unsuccessful effort organized by different citizens. That 2014 effort did not make the ballot.

That year, petitioners cited grievances of McMasters’ alleged misunderstanding of tax increment financing; attaching a memo to city manager Rob Schommer’s contract stating his disapproval; and not signing legislation after it was passed by council.

Since then, McMasters has been center to additional issues including a censure from city council; a complaint by 10 city staff including the city manager which resulted in no penalty; a complaint filed with the NAACP against him for refusal to sign travel requests; and calling Councilman Ed Lyons “the stupidest person I think I ever met and a sleazeball.”

The comments exchanged between McMasters and Lyons were characterized by recall petition committee member Caperton as giving the city “negative exposure,” according to minutes from the March 28 council meeting during which she made public comments.

Earlier that month, White and Goley applied for seats on the city’s new Charter Review Commission, according to records reviewed by this newspaper. Neither was appointed to the board.

Staff Writer Steven Matthews and WHIO-TV reporter Lauren Clark contributed to this report.

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