BY LINDA BENTLEY | DECEMBER 24, 2013
It’s going to be a recall free-for-all
Everyone but the mayor, so far, on the chopping block
CAVE CREEK – On Dec. 18, Susan Clancy and Hani Saba, president and treasurer, respectively, of the Cave Creek Caring Citizens Political Action Committee (PAC), filed applications with Town Clerk Carrie Dyrek for the recall of the four slate candidates, Vice Mayor Adam Trenk (l) and councilmen Mike Durkin, Reg Monachino and Charles Spitzer (below), elected last spring.
The recall statement for each reads: “We find that [councilman’s name] inability to govern the town of Cave Creek, AZ, as prescribed, should be recalled for the following reasons: 1) fiscal irresponsibility, 2) material misrepresentation to the public in the 2013 election, and 3) lack of transparency with regard the operation of town government.”
Clancy and Saba filed their statement of organization for the PAC on Dec. 5 and, although they had a multitude of very specific reasons they believed the four candidates should be recalled, they wanted to limit their recall statements to one that was simple, concise and applied to all of the councilmen.
They said specifics will unfold in campaign pieces once the recall election gets underway.
They have 120 days (April 17, 2014) to collect 293 valid petition signatures for each of the candidates being recalled.
The date on which they turn in their petitions, will determine when the recall election is held.
An election could conceivably be called in May if petitions are turned in before the end of January. Otherwise, under the new consolidated elections law, August is the next month during which a special election may be called.
Once petitions are turned in, they are forwarded to the county elections department where every signature must be verified.
After it is confirmed there are enough valid signatures to initiate a recall election, Dyrek must notify each of the recalled candidates, who are then given five business days to resign.
If they chose not to resign, they are given a short period of time to submit a statement in 200 words or less to appear in the ballot pamphlet as to why they should not be recalled.
The very next day, on Dec. 19, V. Kerry Smith (l), as chair, and his wife Pauline, as treasurer, filed a statement of organization for a similar sounding PAC, Citizens Concerned for Cave Creek (CCforCC), and applications for recall against councilmen Ernie Bunch and Thomas McGuire, in an apparent act of retaliation.
Smith is an environmental economics professor at ASU.
In what seems to be an effort to obfuscate who and why candidates are being recalled, Smith copied, verbatim, Clancy and Saba’s grounds for recall statements, only adding the word “to,” which appeared to be missing in the last sentence.
Smith’s e-mail address provided on his statement of organization: firstname.lastname@example.org reveals his affiliation with Mike Chutz, the Pennsylvania resident who has been meddling in local affairs and elections, raised $40,000 under the auspices of fighting the Enchanted Canyon Resort project that never stood a chance of being approved, and began the Cave Creek Institute “think tank” to essentially become a shadow government for Cave Creek.
Even though Smith filed his applications for recall the following day, it shows the same deadline of April 17 rather than April 18, which could be because the 18th falls on a Friday when town hall is closed.
If the recall petitions are sufficient, a recall election is different than just a regular council election in that candidates who wish to run must run against a specific candidate.
However, there could also be several candidates wishing to run against the same recalled candidate. There is no runoff election and the candidate with the most votes wins, period.
Although Saba and Clancy formed their PAC on Dec. 5, the recall applications were all filed last week, just days after council unanimously decided to offer Peter Jankowski the permanent town manager position.
It’s still unknown as to whether he will accept the town’s offer in light of the current circumstances.
When Bunch learned of the recall filed against him, he laughed and said, “I am truly honored to have Mr. Smith institute a recall against me. When a super liberal professor from the ASU School of Sustainability believes I am not representing the town of Cave Creek’s best interests I must, in reality, be doing an exceptional job.”