Chesapeake mayor, four council members resign

Published 3:10 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Meeting set for Friday to fill positions

CHESAPEAKE — The Village of Chesapeake saw the exit of the majority of its government officials on Monday.

Mayor Kim Oldaker announced at the regular meeting of council that she was resigning from her position. Following her resignation, four council members — Larry Estep, Beth Brown, Lonnie Salyers and Allen Barrett — also announced their resignation.

As mayor pro tempore, Estep chose council member Nate Ittig, who was appointed to his seat to fill a vacancy earlier in as the new mayor.

With Ittig moving into the mayor’s position, this left Paul Hart as the sole person of the six-member village council.

Oldaker did not give a reason at the meeting for her resignation, but said she would share details at a later time.

Fiscal officer Lenny Abrams also announced his resignation at the meeting, though Hart said it was unrelated to the other resignations and he will remain in the position through the end of the month.

Oldaker was in her first term as mayor, having been elected in 2019 after defeating incumbent Tommy Templeton by three votes in an election that went to a recount.

Hart said a council meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Friday to fill the vacancies. He said, as the only elected member, he will choose a replacement for a seat, then the two council members will choose the next, repeating until positions are filled.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my 30 years here,” Hart said.

Hart said he began Tuesday by continuing his duties, going to North Huntington Heights, where the village is working with Union Township to repave the road.

“All I can say is it the people put their confidence in me, we’ll get through this,” Hart said of the upheaval.

Signatures were turned in by a former council member over the summer for a recall petition of Oldaker, citing multiple allegations, including malfeasance and neglect of duty, however that petition was ruled invalid by the Lawrence County Board of Elections in July. Oldaker refuted all allegations. The board ruled Chesapeake did not have protocols in place for a recall.

Four seats are on the ballot for Chesapeake council in November’s election, which included Ittig’s seat. The Lawrence County Board of Elections said fall ballots are already finalized. Others on the fall ballot include Jacob Wells, Drew Griffin and Lisa Blake, who are seeking to join the council. Hart is not up for re-election this year.

Oldaker had not released a statement as of press time on Tuesday. Ittig could not be reached for comment.