Michael Gomez recall, Douglas, Arizona (2011)

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A vote about whether to recall Michael Gomez from his position as mayor of Douglas, Arizona had been on the May 17, 2011 ballot.[1][2]

A lawsuit was filed by the attorney for Michael Gomez to prevent the May 17 vote from taking place on the grounds that some of the signatures on the recall petitions were improperly collected.[3]

In early March, the Cochise County Superior Court declared the recall invalid and cancelled the May 17 election.[4]

City council requests resignation

The Douglas City Council unanimously asked Gomez to resign at its January 12, 2011 meeting.[5]

The resolution requesting that Mayor Gomez resign cited a number of reasons for the request. The reasons listed included:

  • "Calling the employer of a council member to pressure the spouse to cease the activity of circulating recall petitions."
  • "Having to make council mailboxes locked boxes because mayor has been seen on numerous occasions looking through their mail."
  • "Taking documents out of clerical employees’ hands to review and read."
  • "Putting employees 'in the middle' by asking them to transmit negative messages to other staff or council members."
  • "Asking the executive assistant to type disciplinary actions without discussing the incidents with the principals."
  • "Asking staff to use another’s password to access emails."
  • "Looking at staff’s email communications and desk papers."
  • "Ignoring the legal opinions of the city attorney and choosing to instead use a private attorney."
  • "Publicly implying or concluding that elections were 'rigged.'"
  • "Circulation of petitions proposing legislation according to the attorney general’s office that may be in violation of statute."
  • "The circulating of petitions to garner support has contributed to the divisions within the community."
  • "Has alienated the Mexican Consulate by actions taken by family members implying that they should be consulted as to time and place where Consulate special events are held."
  • "Has ignored and contravened long standing and accepted City Council protocol. Example: when a motion is defeated only a member of those voting “no” may move to have the matter reconsidered."
  • "Fails to maintain control and promote civil discourse at meetings during the Call to the Public, allowing members of the public to berate and slander city staff, family members and elected officials rather than promote constructive public comments and receive constituent concerns."
  • "In addition to the issues of trust and ethics, these concerns are in direct violation of City Charter Article III, Section 7(B) and Section 8(A) of the same Article and also in violation of City of Douglas Municipal Code Chapter 2.62.030 Ethics, and 2.62.040(2)Fair and Equal Treatment."
  • "Trying to coerce and intimidate individuals into changing their recall signature may be in violation of ARS 19-206."[5]

Recall supporters

Ginny Jordan was a leader in the recall effort against Michael Gomez. She took out the paperwork to initiate the recall on July 30, 2010.

The recall petition by Jordan said:

"Recall is a matter of serious proportion and not to be entered into lightly. Recall is expensive. According to the Charter of the City of Douglas the duties of mayor are clearly defined. Mayor Gomez, has repeatedly over stepped his duties. It is also sadly apparent that he is more concerned with his self promotion and image than that of the well-being and prosperity of the city.

Therefore: Whereas: Mayor Gomez’s inability and unwillingness to work with Douglas City Council, micro-manage City Hall and allow his family to influence his decisions, this recall petition is submitted. Mayor Gomez’s actions have seriously damaged relations with the public, its city employees and the ability to move our City forward.

“Whereas: Mayor Gomez’s actions have cost the city tax revenues with his personal political agenda on SB 1070 and militarization of the border with no regard of the impact on our neighbor to the south and the business community. It has also created a hostile division among city residents.

It is these and numerous other actions on the Mayor’s part that this recall is submitted. To wait until election time would continue to damage our image and continue to bankrupt our economy."[6]

Gomez responds

Gomez said that when he became mayor, the city was low on funds. Under his leadership, he said, Douglas achieved a balanced budget and $1.2 million in the bank. Additionally, "We have not laid off a single employee or furloughed any single person on our staff."[7]

Path to the ballot

424 signatures were needed to qualify the recall for the ballot.[2]

See also