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Newton Falls council fires police chief

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NEWTON FALLS, Ohio - Newton Falls is now looking for a new police chief.

Newton Falls City Council met in executive session for just over an hour and immediately came out to fire their police chief.

Chief John Kuivila was accused of misconduct stemming from a complaint from an employee in the police department who accused him of sexual harassment.

Neither council or city leaders would comment or give a reason for his termination. The ordinance for his firing just said, "Council believes the police chief has undermined his ability to remain an effective leader."

City Manager Jack Haney said, "Council has elected to utilize language in his employment agreement to terminate his association with the city in hopes all concerned can move forward in a positive manner."

But just last week, Haney told 21 News that according to Kuivila's contract a disciplinary hearing was to take place where both sides could give testimony to a neutral third party before any action could be taken. But that never happened.

Kuivila's attorney, Kimberly Kendall, says the city was supposed to follow many things outlined in his contract.

"To give notice of charges against him, specify public violations, to do an investigation have a factual basis for those allegations, then have a disciplinary hearing with a neutral third party. None of those things have taken place," Kendall said.

So why does she think council took this action so quickly? Kendall said that, "someone who is related to several council members and the city manager, [and the] secretary and is a good friend of the city manager's family made an allegation and that allegation has no basis. The city has investigated for weeks and hasn't been able to produce a shred of substantiality."

The attorney says she will likely take the case to court, who she says, will likely rule in Kuivila's favor causing the Newton Falls taxpayers to foot the bill.

In the meantime, Officer Rick Lisum, was named acting police chief until a permanent replacement is found.

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