Pam Murray recall, Nashville, Tennessee, 2009
According to unofficial results and the Davidson County Election Commission, the recall effort was approved.
- Pam Murray (incumbent): 540 (49.91%)
- Jamie Hollin (challenger): 542 (50.09%)
The recall petition filed with election authorities said that in the view of recall organizers, Murray had engaged in "dereliction of her duties and responsibilities to represent the citizens and residents" of the district.
Recall efforts began after Murray and Councilwoman Karen Bennett disputed a proposed bill that would have led to permitting mobile vendors on Cleveland Street. Residents became increasingly concerned after a NewsChannel 5 report in April 2009 that revealed that Murray works for a methadone clinic in Detroit, Michigan despite her legal residence being in Nashville. According to Nashville law, elected officials must reside in the city or district they represent.
James Hollin, a recall supporter, said,"Her lack of responsiveness to the community and that's what made collecting getting the signatures easy." In response to the recall Murray said,"They can degrade me all they want. My true neighbors know I have done my job over there." Murray added that she once worked a private contractor in Detroit but most of the work was completed over email correspondence and she has never owned a home in Michigan.
Murray was first elected to the District 5 council in 2003.
Murray filed a lawsuit against the Metro Election Commission in September 2009 following the verification of valid signatures. The lawsuit called for a judge to void the validated signatures and stop the recall election. However, on September 29, 2009 a judge denied the councilwoman's request. Murray's attorney, Mark Baugh argued in court,"They made an affirmative statement that she lived in Detroit, inducing people who were of the mind-set that a person should live in the county they represent to sign on that basis." But, according to the judge's ruling, the inconsistent petition language was not sufficient to throw out the signatures.
In order for a recall election to take place supporters must first collect approximately 900 valid signatures or 15% of the registered voters in the district. Supporters had until September 14, 2009 to collect the necessary signatures. If approved, the recall election will take place within 60 days after the approval.
On September 15, the Davidson County Election Commission said that the office verified 1,000 valid signatures before it stopped counting. Petitions were submitted September 14 and had a total of 1,253 signatures.
If enough valid signatures are collected, a recall election is expected to cost about $12,000, said Election Administrator Ray Barrett.
- The Tennessean, "Councilwoman Pam Murray recall vote allowed to proceed," September 29, 2009
- The Tennessean, "Jamie Hollin is apparent winner in council seat recall vote," November 13, 2009
- The Tennessean, "East Nashville voters try to oust Councilwoman Pam Murray," August 15, 2009
- MLive.com, "Nashville (or Detroit?) City Councilwoman Pam Murray faced recall; she says 'my true neighbors know I have done my job over there'," August 21, 2009
- The City Paper, "Committee close to forcing Murray recall election," August 18, 2009
- The Tennessan, "Recall referendum on Councilwoman Murray will proceed," September 15, 2009
- The Tennessean, "East Nashvillians push effort to recall councilwoman," September 9, 2009