A temporary restraining order issued by Trumbull Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice Wednesday has blocked Newton Falls Council from holding an impeachment hearing against Councilwoman Tesa Spletzer (3rd Ward).

The court order was issued only a few hours prior to Wednesday’s scheduled hearing.

The order comes one day after a criminal charge was filed against Spletzer by Newton Falls police accusing her of “false alarms” for a call she made to 9-11 last month that amounted to a complaint against village Manager David Lynch and did not appear to be an emergency.

That call is the basis of an effort to remove Spletzer from office led by Councilwoman Sandra Breymaier (4th Ward) on grounds of “gross misconduct.”

Breymaier is the subject of a recall election scheduled for June 1 that Spletzer supports.

Attorneys for Spletzer told 21 News the actions of council and Breymaier in particular are unconstitutional as is a provision in the village charter.

“These removal proceedings were not properly brought before council to take a vote,” their filing alleges, but that’s not their only issue.

“We’re trying to prevent a kangaroo court from happening up there (by) non-elected bureaucrats,” the attorneys said.

In response to questions from 21 News, they admitted they were referring to Lynch and Law Director A. Joseph Fritz, who has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to overturn the recall election of Breymaier.

A hearing on Spletzer’s preliminary injunction against council has been scheduled before Judge Rice on June 2 at 9 a.m.

Meanwhile, an appearance in Newton Falls Municipal Court over the false alarm charge has been set for the following day, June 3.

The offense is a first-degree misdemeanor and, according to the Ohio Revised Code, “punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both jail time and a fine.”

Spletzer said she was unaware of the criminal charge before 21 News informed her it had been filed.

Spletzer’s call on April 16 accused Lynch of refusing to provide information and obstructing official business, although she did not file a criminal complaint.

Asked afterwards by 21 News why she would call 9-1-1 for an apparent non-emergency, the councilwoman said she “felt she had no other choice.”

The charge was filed by Newton Falls Officer Igor Olefir, whom Spletzer identified as the same police investigator who questioned her after she called 9-1-1.

The councilwoman said she was stunned because Olefir was “very understanding and tried to be helpful” at the time.

Patty Goldner, Trumbull County 9-1-1 interim director, told 21 News that neither she nor anyone else from 9-1-1 filed the complaint against Spletzer.

“No one from the Newton Falls Police Department has contacted me about it,” Goldner said.

Lynch, contacted by 21 News, said he did not initiate the criminal complaint against Spletzer and declined further comment.

Voice and email messages to Police Chief Gene Fixler have not been returned.