Another Healdton councilor target of latest recall petition

Published: Sep. 21, 2016 at 9:44 PM CDT
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HEALDTON, Okla. (KXII) -- At Monday's Healdton City Council meeting, city councilman Manuel Dovilla voted against holding the election to throw out two of his fellow councils. Now citizens are petitioning to remove him too.

With his no vote and two abstentions, the council once again refused to address the motion to recall two city councilors...a move that the city attorney says goes against the city charter.

"Each individual council person, of course, has the right to vote as he or she see fit," City attorney Bob Pinkerton said. "My advice to them is that it is not a permissive action. The charter says they shall hold an election."

Resident Michael Schofield says this is frustrating.

"They went against the attorney's recommendations at the meeting, to his face, went against his recommendations and voted no on it." Schofield said.

The petition initially needs 20 votes. Then Dovilla can respond, and if a second petition of 110 votes is gathered after, the council would have to vote on it at the next meeting.

"He [Dovilla] is going against the city codes and the advice of the city attorney." One of the petition organizers, Rick Pender, said. "He took an oath to the citizens of the city to follow that charter and that code, and he's failed to do it."

If the petition gets those signatures, Dovilla would join at-large city councilor Linda Hill and ward two city councilor Treva Gage for recall.

They're still serving despite their petitions being turned in late July, and no election for their removal has been called yet.

"It's kind of sad that when you have 126 signatures of citizens who wish for another opportunity to vote on new council people, and you have three individuals who say we're not going to listen, we're not going to follow." Pender said.

Pender says he's talking to an attorney about a class action lawsuit, and is also going to the district attorney. But Pinkerton hopes it won't go farther than that.

"I am hoping that I can persuade the council to adopt the resolution for the election as required by the charter." Pinkerton said. "And even though it's the third time, if they will do it, it will remove the issue."