Christopher-Kohl's Recall Petitions Rejected

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The recall petitions circulated to recall the Christopher-Kohls Fire District's governing board were rejected by Gila County earlier this month.

The recall campaign was based on a variety of complaints against the fire board. Among the reasons given for the recall movement: possible open meeting law violations; meetings conducted without public input; demeaning gestures and condescending attitude to public and department personnel; failure to act aggressively to determine or address extreme risks to life and property facing the district; failure to adequately or equitably represent district taxpayers or solicit their opinions prior to major decisions; failure to provide personnel or equipment necessary to adequately protect the fire district or its personnel.

"They did not meet one of the requirements," said Dixie Mundy, director of the Gila County Elections Office.

She explained that the law makes it necessary for the serial number assigned to the recall appear in the lower right corner of both the front and back of a petition.

"It was not on the back of any of the petitions submitted," Mundy said.

She said the petitions were submitted on the last day they could be turned in, so the group organizing the recall campaign had no recourse -- they could not start circulating petitions using the assigned serial number.

"I checked with the county attorney, the secretary of state and the attorney general's office before notifying the committee," Mundy said.

She sent the recall group a certified letter Nov. 10 and the postmark on the return receipt was Nov. 15.

Mundy said the committee was concerned and disturbed by the rejection.

"We tried to explain in the letter (of notification)," Mundy said.

Gregory Bownds, a resident of the CKFD, started the recall campaign.

"It's simple, we'll just continue," Bownds said when asked what he and his committee will do next.

"I initiated the recall, but we backed off for awhile thinking legal action would be taken against the board by the county," Bownds said. "But they're the board's advocates."

He said he and his committee are undeterred by the rejection of the petitions.

"We have applied for a new serial number," Bownds said. "We have not lost any ground. We will still have this in a special election in May."

Bownds said they have until Feb. 17 to submit the new petitions seeking the recall of the CKFD board -- Powers Webb, chairman; Mikey Marazza; and Jerry Fisher.

"The same people who signed the petitions are still willing to see it through," Bownds said, "The recall is alive and well and undeterred."

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