Daryl Hickman recall, Lake Elsinore, California (2012)
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Reasons for recall
The catalyst for the recall effort was the firing of City Manager Bob Brady. On March 13th, the city council voted 3-2 to fire Brady. Hickman, Melissa Melendez, and Peter Weber voted in favor of the firing, while Bob Magee and Mayor Brian Tisdale voted to oppose the firing. The reasons given for Brady's dismissal were that Brady had been uncommunicative with certain council members, had not been proactive in promoting the city to the media, had not been supportive of prospective businesses and had allowed the continuation of inconsistent code enforcement policies and overly punitive fines. Brady was also faulted for lack of executive experience, unfamiliarity with basic rules and procedures, and failure to implement an economic development plan.
Brady's compensation, which includes a $185,000 base salary, was also an issue. Brady had been allowed to accrue 600 hours of sick leave, more than 800 hours in unused vacation, and 120 hours of administrative leave. The average salary in Lake Elsinore is $56,000.
Allegations by Hickman
Alleging that Lake Elsinore Valley Chamber of Commerce chairwoman Natasha Johnson was involved with a political action group that opposed Bob Brady's firing, Hickman threatened to oppose funding to the chamber. In addition to serving as the chamber's chairwoman, Johnson is treasurer of A Better Lake Elsinore, a group that opposed Bob Brady's firing. Hickman said, "the chamber is supposed to be a nonpolitical group...If you’re receiving remuneration from the city, you shouldn’t be in a political game.”
After the recall petition was approved for circulation, Hickman requested that City Clerk Virginia Bloom investigate the charges made against him in the recall petition. These charges include illegally leaking confidential city personnel information, improperly hiding campaign expenses and illegally using public funds. Hickman said these charges were inaccurate and malicious. Bloom said checking the validity of recall accusations was not her job, and that she had no authority to investigate the accusations against him.
Path to the ballot
Chris Hyland filed a notice of intent to circulate a recall petition on March 13th. The recall petition was certified for circulation on April 25. Recall organizers needed to gather 3,369 signatures by the August 23 deadline. On August 15, recall organizer Chris Hyland announced that she had abandoned the recall effort due to a lack of cooperation from other citizens.
- Riverside County, California ballot measures
- Political recall efforts, 2012
- Recall campaigns in California
- The Californian, "Manager's firing leaves city shaken," March 15, 2012
- North County Times, "LAKE ELSINORE: Recall campaign fizzles," August 15, 2012
- Press-Enterprise, "Council votes to fire city manager," March 13, 2012
- Press-Enterprise, "Councilman threatens chamber’s funding," April 19, 2012
- Press-Enterprise, "Councilman wants investigation of recall accusations," April 27, 2012
- Press-Enterprise, "Recall campaign can seek signatures," May 5, 2012
- Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch, "Committee To Recall Daryl Hickman Begins Gathering Petition Signatures," April 25, 2012