HUDSON, Ohio — A group of Hudson residents is moving forward with a petition to recall Hudson’s mayor Craig Shubert.
The recall effort started, in part, due to the comments Shubert made last month at a Hudson City School Board meeting. The meeting made national headlines as enraged parents and residents demanded the board address a book used at Hudson High School that, they felt, had inappropriate content for students.
“It has come to my attention that your educators are distributing essentially what is child pornography in the classroom. I've spoken to a judge this evening. She's already confirmed that. So I'm going to give you a simple choice. You either choose to resign from this Board of Education or you will be charged,” said Shubert to board members at the meeting.
Since that meeting, the Summit County Prosecutor stated the book’s writing prompts did not contain child pornography, but is still investigating if any laws were broken.
Karen Farkas said the mayor’s comments at that September meeting put Hudson in a bad light.
“That went beyond what I felt, and many others, was his First Amendment rights, and he spoke and introduced himself as the mayor of Hudson, not as just a Hudson resident,” said Farkas.
Farkas has lived in Hudson for over two decades. She said during Shubert’s time in office he has overstepped.
“Until Mayor Shubert was elected in 2019, we would always have mayors who abided by what the mayor's role is supposed to be in the city of Hudson, which is ceremonial,” she said.
Hudson’s city charter states that the mayor is ceremonial and the city manager is head of operations.
Farkas attended two council meetings after Shubert’s comments in that September meeting. She told Shubert and council members that she would go forward with a recall petition if he refused to apologize or did not resign.
“He had two choices. He could publicly apologize to the citizens of Hudson, to city officials and to the school board, or he could resign,” she said. “He did not respond at all at that meeting and so since that time, we've been gathering signatures.”
She and other residents have created the website recallhudsonmayor.com
She said they’re slowly gathering signatures from registered Hudson voters. They have a drive-thru petition signing event Saturday at Veteran’s Way Park from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and will also be at polls come election day.
The recall petition needs about 3,100 signatures in order to force an election.
Shubert issued this statement to News 5 in response to the recall petition:
“Any special election would cost Hudson taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary expense and continue the divisiveness in the city for months to come. There are ongoing investigations by both the school district and the county prosecuting attorney. The fact that this recall has been launched before the results of those investigations are known shows this is more about a personal vendetta than the facts”-Craig Shubert, Mayor of Hudson
Farkas said it is not a personal vendetta and that it wouldn’t have to happen if he would just apologize or resign.
“It's basically a measure to keep our community as great as it's always been,” she said.