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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Recall of 3 Healdton councilmen sought

  • Petitions to recall three councilmen and request an election of their successors were turned in to Healdton City Hall Monday morning, Healdton City Clerk Vivian Glenn confirmed. Mayor Richard Bray, Councilman William Carlisle and Councilman Steven Handcock were each named on a petition. Councilman D.J. Brown was not listed on a petition and the Ward 2 seat remains open after James Nix resigned.


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  • Petitions to recall three councilmen and request an election of their successors were turned in to Healdton City Hall Monday morning, Healdton City Clerk Vivian Glenn confirmed. Mayor Richard Bray, Councilman William Carlisle and Councilman Steven Handcock were each named on a petition. Councilman D.J. Brown was not listed on a petition and the Ward 2 seat remains open after James Nix resigned.
     
    All three are alleged to have refused to act in the best interests of the city.
     
    Reasons for the recall varied for each councilman, although each was alleged to have given “unauthorized raises” to city employees, “which puts the city over budget immediately.” Mayor Bray is also alleged to have “used undue influence, abuse of authority and corruption to secure these raises.”
     
    Both Bray and Carlisle are alleged to have violated the “Open Meeting policy” by “entering with a quorum of council members into (Healdton City Manager Louis) Smitherman’s office to discuss matters on the agenda.”
     
    When contacted about the allegations, Bray said, “I can’t talk right now, I’m busy.” Councilman Handcock declined to make a statement until he could gather more information. “Right now, I am still trying to find out all the information so I would have to say no comment until I get that information.”
     
    Councilman Carlisle said that he would wait until after Monday’s council meeting before making a statement.
    Former Councilman Rick Pender circulated the petition, citing a concern over the direction of the city government as his primary concern.
     
    “I have been working on this for probably 2 ½ months,” Pender said. “Basically, they come up and do a budget and then just give raises that weren’t budgeted from what they submitted to the state, and it keeps getting worse. The mayor thinks he has control of the city and his position is to sit in the center of the council. It’s run by a board and not by a dictator.
     
    “I was on the council for six years and I got off because of a job that I took with the state. When I was on the council, we were trying to save some money up in case an emergency arose and we would have matching money for grants. It is my understanding they have spent the majority of the money.”
     
    While Bray’s decision to disband the current Board of Directors for the Healdton Industrial Authority did not play into the circulation of the petition, Pender cites it as an example of why it was initiated.
     
    “HIA is included in the abuse of power,” he said. “(Bray) made a statement without the council’s approval. I don’t think Richard fully understands the position that he is in. On the HIA Board and Planning and Zoning Board, the mayor can make the final decision but it is after council’s approval. You can’t jump and say something out of the clear, blue sky. If all four of them got together, they are breaking the law.”
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    In an interview with The Ardmoreite, Bray said it was his decision to disband the board, a statement confirmed by Handcock, Brown and Carlisle.
     
    An Ardmoreite inquiry made to the Oklahoma Municipal League regarding due process of recall petitions was not answered Monday, but OML staff should be available today to provide the requested information.
     

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