Online petition calls for Hudson mayor to be censured

·4 min read
Hudson Mayor Craig Shubert listens to a comment from a city council member at the council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 16. While the effort to recall Shubert from office has been paused, a new online petition has been initiated to censure the mayor for comments he made to the board of education in September.
Hudson Mayor Craig Shubert listens to a comment from a city council member at the council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 16. While the effort to recall Shubert from office has been paused, a new online petition has been initiated to censure the mayor for comments he made to the board of education in September.

HUDSON — After a recall effort was paused, an online petition has been initiated to censure the mayor for comments he made to the board of education.

The petition, which was started on Monday by resident Andrea Bucey on Change.org, opens with this statement: "I support a citizen’s censure of Hudson Mayor Craig Shubert following his repeated, false, defamatory demands that Hudson School Board members resign for allowing educators to distribute 'essentially what is child pornography in the classroom' and for other actions he has taken since he was elected."

As of 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 1,512 people had signed the petition.

Shubert did not immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment.

Though she did not share a specific signature goal, Bucey said she wanted to collect "enough to pack a wallop and make a point."

She added she wants to bring the petition before city council some time this month and encourage legislators to join the petition signers in censuring Shubert.

Bucey said she and other residents were "disappointed" that council did not censure Shubert for the statements he made to the board of education in September.

"I think they missed their opportunity," Bucey said. "No one called for a censure."

At the next council meeting on Dec. 7, the two newly elected members - Chris Banweg and Karen Heater - will be sworn in and begin their service on the legislative body. Banweg and Heater are replacing Hal DeSaussure and Bill Wooldredge, both of whom did not seek re-election last month.

Bucey said she now wants to give the new council the opportunity to consider censuring Shubert.

"This is a vote of lack of confidence in our mayor," Bucey said. "It carries no weight, other than to be optic and symbolic."

But, she added, "I don't want to dismiss how important we feel that is."

Noting she is still hearing from citizens who want to sign the petition for a recall election, Bucey said she and other residents decided they needed to make their voices heard.

"We can't just be silent," Bucey said. "That's complicit. That's enabling the mayor to speak as he will and have no repercussions."

Shubert made national news when he attended a board of education meeting Sept. 13 and requested all five board members resign or potentially face criminal charges over a book provided to high school seniors in a college-level writing course. A group of parents had complained about some sexually themed writing prompts in the book, "642 Things to Write About," which school district officials removed from the course.

More: Hudson mayor: School board should resign over material suggesting kids write about sex, drinking

At that Sept. 13 board meeting, Shubert falsely accused the district of distributing "essentially … child pornography."

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh has since said the writing prompts were not child pornography. Her office in mid-November issued a report stating that while Shubert will not face criminal charges for his statements, the prosecutor nonetheless gave him a blistering rebuke.

More: Prosecutor won't charge 'reckless' Hudson mayor of sparking threats to school board

After that report came out from the prosecutor's office, Bucey said the mayor "again had an opportunity to apologize and instead, did the opposite."

The mayoral office in Hudson is a ceremonial position and in that context, Bucey said she believes the mayor's role "is to be our cheerleader, and in fact, he has become a mouthpiece to our detriment."

Petition drive recall mayor remains on hold

A petition drive to recall Shubert that was started by some residents in October was paused about a month later.

Resident Karen Farkas said while petition circulators have obtained about one-third of the 3,100 signatures needed for a recall election, they decided to suspend the drive because of recent election results, feedback they received from some community members and financial reasons.

More: Organizers decide to pause effort to recall Hudson mayor

Farkas said Shubert's statements, his defense of them and other actions he had taken since he was elected in 2019 led some residents to organize a recall petition drive. In early October, she said the recall effort would not happen if Shubert publicly apologized for his statements to the school board. Shubert has not apologized.

More: Hudson resident launching petition drive to recall mayor over book controversy

The newest petition that calls for censuring the mayor notes that while the recall petition drive has been paused, "that does not preclude this petition to signify the concerns of residents that the mayor’s ongoing reckless conduct is detrimental to the success of our city."

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@thebeaconjournal.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Online petition calls for Hudson mayor to be censured

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting