Nathan Bates recall, Stillwater, Oklahoma, 2010
- Number of votes to keep Bates: 2,230
- Number of voted to recall Bates: 2,226
The recall effort was led by Concerned Citizens of Stillwater. City Council member Darrell Dougherty was active with the recall effort and after the narrow vote to keep Bates, says he and his group will consider their options.
Reasons for recall
The petition to recall the mayor stated that he is allegedly corrupting the office by using it to his personal benefit. According to the petition his use of office is for his financial gain through “solicitation of employment, free goods and services, free transportation and event tickets for himself from the city, Oklahoma State University, the Chamber of Commerce, hospital, local retail businesses, restaurants and entertainment establishments.”
Other concerns and allegations include:
- Corruption in office by asking a young woman to expose her breasts while he was riding with her on a boat at Lake Carl Blackwell.
- Willful failure to perform charter-mandated duties by repeatedly interfering with or trying to direct the activities of on-duty police officers and civilian city employees.
- Being in a state of intoxication at various public places within the city.
Bate's response to recall
According to the 27-year-old mayor: “To the best of my knowledge, I haven’t violated any of the terms of office to justify it.” Bates later went on to state: “I’m not getting any bribes, I obviously haven’t influenced anything for anyone powerful. The city council always votes the opposite way as me on anything important." The names of the leaders of the effort have not been revealed.
E-mails regarding the mayor and police Chief Norman McNickle were made public to recall leaders and were distributed with the pre-petition. E-mails are public record, however no persons requested that they be made available. Among the accusations made towards the mayor include interfering with police affairs. According to spokesman Captain Randy Dickerson: "We have not made any official release on the emails in question, and so if they have been obtained then someone is releasing them on their own accord.”
In another case, a letter was sent anonymously to the mayor and local physician, Dr. Sidney Williams. Dr. Williams is in the committee Stillwater Watchdogs, who were initially accused of starting the recall petition but have come out to support Bates. According to the letter, city council members are behind the recall effort. The accused listed include council members Chuck Hopkins, Tom Dugger and Darrell Daugherty. According to Williams, the letter means little due to it being unsigned. He stated: “It is a sad day in Stillwater when there are so many unsigned letters and anonymous petitions everywhere."
The Communication Workers of America Local 6012 stated that they are in opposition of the recall effort and are standing by the mayor. The recall, according to the organization, is counterproductive to the area’s needs. According to David Ratcliff, spokesman for the union local that is based in Tulsa: “We continue to support the mayor. These are all anonymous allegations, and there’s been no proof of any wrongdoing on the mayor’s part.”
Path to the ballot
An initial recall petition must be signed by at least 100 registered voters in the city in order to begin the circulation process. 25% of the city's registered voters must then sign the petition to force a recall vote.
On December 14, 2009, the city clerk validated the 107 signatures that were turned in on December 11, 2009. Recall supporters then collected the remaining signatures required to force a recall election.
An initial version of the Bates recall petition was withdrawn on January 5, 2010 and a second version was then filed. The withdrawal statement for the first version, written by recall leader Becky Teague, said: "As the Proponent and on behalf of the signers of the 'Demand for the Drawing and Circulation of a Recall Petition" filed with the City of Stillwater on December 11, 2009, I hereby withdraw the same and request that no petition be drawn on account of the aforesaid document."
- Recall campaigns in Oklahoma
- Political recall efforts, 2010
- Mayoral recalls
- Payne County, Oklahoma ballot measures
- Grant to Mayor Nathan Bates draws criticism
- The Daily O'Collegian, "Mayor calls for first town meeting," March 29, 2010
- KTUL, "Stillwater Mayor Avoids Recall In Close Vote," May 12, 2010
- Tulsa World, "Recall vote of Stillwater mayor narrowly fails," May 11, 2010
- News Press, "Mayoral foes petitioning for recall?," December 2, 2009
- ktul.com, "Concerned Citizens Group Moves To Recall Stillwater Mayor," December 4, 2009
- The Oklahoman, "Stillwater’s mayor denies allegations," December 4, 2009
- The Daily O'Collegian, "Beef with Bates:Stillwater Mayor denies charges," December 7, 2009
- News Press, "No formal trail for emails in mayoral recall petition," December 4, 2009
- ocolly.com, "Letter accuses City Council in recall controversy," December 8, 2009
- Tulsa World, "Union stands for Stillwater mayor, against recall process," December 22, 2009
- The Journal, "Petitioners Make Comeback," January 14, 2010
- The Oklahoman, "Stillwater mayor answers critics," December 15, 2009
- Stillwater NewsPress, "ALERT: Petitioners withdraw challenge of Stillwater Mayor Nathan Bates," January 5, 2010