Alfredo Pando recall, Trinidad, Colorado (2012)
A vote about whether to recall Alfredo Pando from his position on the city council of Trinidad, Colorado, took place on July 31, 2012. Pando was recalled from office. The recall effort was launched in February 2012.
Reasons for recall
The Trinidad Recall Action Committee organized the recall effort. Steve Bolton, whose wife is a member of the city council, was the leader of the recall committee. Recall supporters said Pando committed ethics code violations and misconduct in office by walking out of a September 20th, 2011 city council meeting. Pando was also accused of advocating the filling of a dormant Power and Light Department superintendent job and violating the contract of the city manager by failing to properly evaluate his performance.
Pando also faced allegations of inappropriately touching a child. Kimberly Lopez said Pando fondled her son in the bathroom of a local business in June 1986. Pando denied the allegations.
Path to the ballot
On February 8, recall organizers submitted a petition with five signatures to the city clerk. The city clerk then informed the city council that a recall petition was going to be circulated. Recall organizers had 60 days to collect 600 signatures, representing 10% of the votes cast in the last city council election.
On April 23, recall organizers submitted signatures to the city clerk. Recall committee leader Steve Bolton said his group had collected over 800 signatures. The city clerk had 10 days to verify the signatures. During that 10-day period, Pando’s supporters were allowed to contact those who had signed one of the petitions and ask them to remove their names from the petition.
On May 2, 661 signatures were verified, which was enough to force a recall election.
However, on May 25, Trinidad City Clerk Audra Garrett refused to certify the signatures due to a verified protest by Pando. Pando argued that the petitions should not be certified because they didn’t demand that the city council set a date for a recall election. Recall leaders amended the petition, and on June 7, Trinidad City Clerk Audra Garrett certified the recall petition. Pando fought the certification, arguing that petitions cannot be amended. On June 22, Garrett denied Pando's protest and formally notified the city council that they must set the date for a recall election.
Pando's legal challenge
After sufficient signatures were verified to force a recall election, Pando filed a formal written protest. Pando challenged the validity and sufficiency of the recall petition. He also claimed that some signatures were obtained fraudulently, and that some signatures were not obtained within the specified 60-day time frame. Pando claimed the recall petitions were invalid because the petitions did not “request or demand that the City Council set an election to recall Mr. Pando." Pando's legal challenge cited provisions of the City Charter and the Colorado state constitution. Recall committee leader Steve Bolton said that if the recall petitions were ruled invalid, he would initiate another recall attempt.
After an incident at the May 15 city council meeting, Pando filed a request for a permanent protection order against Bolton. Judge Bruce Billings granted a temporary order of protection, but ruled that Bolton's actions at the meeting did not constitute a threat to Pando.
Three people ran against Alredo Pando: Anthony Mattie, Charles Gagliardi and Carmen Sandoval. Mattie was endorsed by the Trinidad Recall Action Committee. On the July 31 election, Pando was recalled, and Mattie was elected to replace him.
- Trinidad Times, "Election set for July 31," June 29, 2012
- ABC 7 News, "Trinidad Councilman Ousted In Recall Election," August 1, 2012
- Trinidad Times, "Group files recall petition," February 10, 2012
- Trinidad Times, "Sex crime allegation resurfaces; Woman says her son was fondled in 1986 by future councilman," February 28, 2012
- Trinidad Times, "Petition passed to city; 10-day period gives pro-Pando crowd time to call signers," April 24, 2012
- Trinidad Times, "Petition to recall Al Pando certified," May 4, 2012
- Trinidad Times, "Clerk reverses recall petition ruling," June 12, 2012
- Pueblo Chieftain, "Recall election set for councilman," July 3, 2012 (dead link)
- Trinidad Times, "Recall petition deemed valid; City clerk cites case law in response to latest protest," June 26, 2012
- Trinidad Times, "Pando, Griego team for petition protest," May 11, 2012
- Trinidad Times, "Protection for Pando quashed by judge; TRAC leader’s comments ‘not a real biggie’," June 5, 2012
- Trinidad Times, "Mattie says new faces deserve a voice, too; Candidate for city council emphasizes independence," July 10, 2012
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