Donald Cykowski recall, Easthampton, Massachusetts (2012)
Reasons for recall
Cykowski was accused of sexually harassing former library director Rebecca Plimpton. Cykowski was a member of the library's board of directors, but he resigned from the board in March 2012. Cykowski also made a disparaging remark about Puerto Ricans at a city council meeting in December. As a colleague struggled to open a locked door during the meeting, Cykowski asked, "where's a Puerto Rican when we need one?" Easthampton's mayor, Michael Tautznik, said Cykowski "should seriously consider the impact he's having on the community" and whether his remaining on the council "will be a positive thing for the community or not." Tautznik supported the recall effort. Springfield NAACP branch president Reverend Talbert W. Swan II called for Cykowski's ouster. Cykowski said he will not resign. On May 2, five members of the city council issued a statement encouraging Cykowski to resign. Cykowski affirmed that he would not resign.
Path to the ballot
Recall supporters began collecting signatures immediately upon initiation of the recall drive, but signatures could not be submitted until July 3 due to a provision in the city's charter stating that recall papers cannot be until at least six months after an official's term commences. A recall campaign is triggered by 400 voters signing a petition, followed by a three-week period in which recall organizers must collect the signatures of 20% of the total voters in the last city election, or 2,235 people.
Suzanne O'Donnell began circulating a recall affidavit in June 2012. On July 3rd, O'Donnell announced that recall supporters had gathered more than 500 signatures, and that they planned to submit these signatures on July 5. On July 5, O'Donnell submitted 520 signatures. At least 400 signatures needed to be verified in order for recall organizers to proceed with gathering 2,235 additional signatures.
On July 17, the city clerk announced that sufficient signatures had been gathered in the first step of the recall process. The city clerk then issued petitions to recall organizers. Recall organizers then had 21 days to submit an additional 2,235 signatures. The recall effort fell short in August 2012, when 2,218 signatures were certified, 17 signatures shy of forcing a recall election.
- The Republican, "Easthampton mayor Michael Tautznik on Donald Cykowski controversy: City council 'needs to take a stand'," March 22, 2012
- The Republican, "Donald Cykowski recall petition final recount tally in Easthampton: Bid falls 17 votes shy," August 8, 2012
- The Republican, "Donald Cykowski, Emily Williston Library corporator, has resigned from the library board," March 19, 2012
- The Republican, "Effort launched to oust Easthampton City Councilor Donald Cykowski for alleged bigotry, sexual harassment," June 13, 2012
- Mass Live, "Easthampton City Council says it's up to voters to recall Councilor Donald Cykowski if they want him out," May 2, 2012
- Daily Hampshire Gazette, "Most Easthampton city councilors ask Donald Cykowski to consider resigning," May 3, 2012
- The Republican, "Easthampton residents plan to submit signatures for 1st phase in recall of City Councilor Donald Cykowski," July 3, 2012
- Daily Hampshire Gazette, "Easthampton recall bid of City Councilor Donald Cykowski completes first stage," July 6, 2012
- Daily Hampshire Gazette, "Easthampton City Clerk issues petitions to begin recall of City Councilor Donald Cykowski," July 17, 2012