Randy Amtower recall, Keyser, West Virginia (2012)
Reasons for recall
Ralph Broadwater and Mark Tranum were involved in the recall campaign. In early May 2012, City Administrator Deborah Pamepinto submitted a letter of resignation to the mayor and city council. Pamepinto wrote, "from lewd comments of a sexual nature to inappropriate observations about my own personal finances and age to hiring unqualified ill-bred assistants to serve as ‘eye candy’ on so-called business trips, I have simply tolerated enough offensive behaviors and attitudes...You don’t know what kind of council we have. We have one man who has already lost a job because of sexual harassment...So we have talked to plenty of people about the sexual harassment, the corruption in the city, about the workplace environment, about bullying, about age discrimination, about disability discrimination. So, all of you are going to deal with it because a suit has been brought.” Pamepinto had recently taken a $10,000 pay cut, which Amtower says was due to her unwillingness to perform certain job duties.
Path to the ballot
In May 2012, a recall petition against Amtower began circulating in the community. 100 signatures are required to force a recall election. On May 15, recall organizers submitted over 200 signatures to the city for certification. The city clerk had 10 days to certify that at least 100 signatures were valid. If enough signatures had been validated, a recall election would have been scheduled within 40 days of certification. On May 18, the recall signatures were deemed "not sufficient" because because signers’ ages and lengths of residency weren’t provided with the petition as required by the city charter. Recall organizers had until May 28 to fix the issue. The issue was not fixed, and the recall effort came to an end. Keyser's city charter states that voters must pay the costs of a recall election if a recall election fails to remove the targeted official. Mark Tranum says he was advised by West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant that the city charter violates West Virginia code. It was unclear whether citizens would have had to foot the bill had Amtower been retained in a recall election.
- Cumberland Times-News, "Keyser administrator steps down, citing the ‘offensive behaviors and attitudes’ of current City Council," May 3, 2012
- Cumberland Times-News, "Keyser’s try for a recall election dissolves," June 8, 2012
- Cumberland Times-News, "Resident exploring recall election, but target unclear," April 27, 2012
- Cumberland Times-News, "Petition for Keyser recall election given to city official," May 17, 2012