HEALDTON — They say the third time’s a charm and Healdton City Attorney Bob Pinkerton is expecting just that as a resolution for a recall election for two city council members will be on the agenda for the third time in a row.
“My expectation is going to be the council will take my advice and pass this resolution,” Pinkerton said Thursday.
Without the resolution being approved, a recall election cannot be held. If a recall election is not held, it is considered a violation of the city charter. When asked if the city council was breaking the law by failing to comply with the city charter, Pinkerton said he had to “decline to answer.”
The first time the resolution went before the vote was Sept. 6. After the resolution failed, Pinkerton advised them to reconsider since city charter states an election must be held since residents fulfilled the requirements of the recall petition. However, council members once more failed to approve it Monday.
The deciding vote was council member Manuela Davila’s. While council members Dusty Miller and Randy Welch voted yes to approve the resolution, and Treva Gage and Linda Hill abstained from voting since the recall involves them (which count as no votes), Davila’s “no” vote kept the resolution from being approved.
Now, residents of Healdton are attempting to take matters into their own hands once more by filing a statement of recall against Davila.
“Councilman Manuel Davila has willfully acted to violate the electoral rights of the citizens of Healdton and the city codes by not listening to the recommendation of the city attorney on two separate occasions. The city attorney, Bob Pinkerton, told the council they had no choice but to approve the recall election as required in the city charter. Councilman Davila voted no along with the two councilwomen being recalled,” the document states.
The recall was filed Thursday with the city clerk. Davila has ten days to respond to the statement of recall.
The statements of recall filed in July against Gage and Hill cited they violated the law by not having a roll call vote for spending and that they willfully disregarded corruption within the Healdton Industrial Authority, a public trust.
Gage said all of the allegations were unfounded and without merit, adding she did not willfully act to violate any state statues.
“I was left to conduct my (first) council meeting on 7/18/16 due to Mayor Welch leaving the meeting. (City Manager) Parker and Clerk (Liz) Sloat were in attendance when the next item on the agenda was read and voted on but never spoke up to remind me that a roll call vote was required, as had been done with previous mayors,” Gage wrote.
She also said as far as the HIA is concerned, they have been working on bringing their audits up to date and has prepared and submitted budgets. Hill said she was not clear about details regarding the HIA.
While city charter states the council must hold an election within 30 days to fill the seats, Pinkerton previously told the council the charter was out of date and state laws do not allow them to be held that quickly.
The earliest time a special election could be scheduled would be February, he said during the Sept. 6 meeting.
The next regular city council meeting is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 3 in City Hall, 167 Franklin St.
“City council, if they follow my advice, is to keep presenting this issue until the resolution is adopted,” Pinkerton said.