• September 2, 2014

Recall elections not new to Central Texas

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Posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 4:30 am

TEMPLE — Recall elections are not unheard of in Central Texas. Successful recalls took place in Copperas Cove in 2008 and in Killeen in 2011.

Mari Paul filed a letter with the city of Temple on Monday that notified officials she was going to circulate a petition seeking to recall Mayor Danny Dunn and the entire City Council.

Paul’s letter cited misconduct and malfeasance in office, noncompliance with Section 4.9 of the city charter, cronyism, neglect, incompetence and betrayal of the public trust.

It also claimed council members conducted business with the city for financial gain.

Jonathan Okray launched a successful recall drive in 2011 seeking the recall of all Killeen City Council members.

He started the recall drive out of a desire for accountability and responsibility, Okray said Tuesday.

The trigger was when the council voted to spend $750,000 to buy out the contract of then-City Manager Connie Green, and then wouldn’t give an explanation that made sense, he said.

Okray said he called each council member to ask why they were paying someone to leave, and the answers “didn’t add up,” he said.

Okray, who was elected to the Killeen council in 2012, learned he had to get the signatures of 1,250 voters per council member to force a recall election, which was more than the number of votes each council member had been elected with.

But he was successful in getting enough verified registered voters to sign and eventually vote to have all the council members recalled.

“We are government’s masters. What the council members were doing was so overt without even a hint of any discretion in their indiscretions,” Okray said. “Government should do the right thing even when no one is looking. Elected officials have to be accountable for people’s tax dollars because government is the servant of the people.”

Okray said it also is the duty of the people to monitor and hold their elected officials accountable.

“If they can’t do the right thing, then they need to relinquish their position. If they won’t get out, then the people need to get them out,” he added.

Copperas Cove voters also ousted their mayor pro tem and four of seven council members in 2008.

The movement was initiated after the former mayor was booted for allegedly violating the city charter by giving direct orders to the city staff and complaints were filed against the council of alleged violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

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