Nick McWilliams reporting – As court proceedings continue for Richard Homrighausen related to theft and other charges, Dover will see a new sitting mayor soon.
Homrighausen, found guilty of a felony count of theft and multiple other transgressions, will never be able to hold an elected office in Ohio, leaving the mayor seat empty in the city.
Spending most of last year as the interim mayor, Shane Gunnoe spoke before council Tuesday, as he gets ready to relinquish that role due to the laws governing who leads cities in special circumstances, like a felony conviction for a sitting mayor.
He offered thanks to council members for helping keep the city running, and to citizens for weathering the storm.
“Thank you very much for the support during the time that I’ve been interim mayor. It’s been great working with you, and I think we’ve managed to get a lot accomplished. And I certainly appreciate the support you’ve shown the city the last eight months. I think that the situation, as we transition to Council President Perkowski, is one that’s much more positive than when we first took over eight months ago. So thank you to all the council members.”
Under law, Homrighausen is no longer suspended, since he has been sentenced in a felony case, barring him from his position.
However, in a statement from Law Director Doug O’Meara, read by Councilwoman Sandy Moss, until the official sentencing order and permanent disqualification against Homrighausen is issued and signed off on by the county court and entered into the official record, Gunnoe will retain his interim status.
When he is officially barred from office, the president of council, Justin Perkowski, will serve as acting mayor until a new appointment is made by the Dover Republican Central Committee, the party of the outgoing sitting mayor.
Gunnoe expressed faith in Perkowski at the helm prior to the central committee’s decision, and said that no meeting had been scheduled to begin the process of selecting the new mayor to his knowledge.
Homrighausen’s legal team is expected to file an appeal on his behalf, which could delay that decision-making process.
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