Recall petitions calling for the recall of recently elected District 3 City Commissioner Jim Witcher have been submitted to Tucumcari City Clerk Rachel Hicklin.
According to Hicklin, she received petitions with 44 signatures on them on Wednesday from George Aragon. The petitions requested the recall of Commissioner Witcher. She said If all the signatures are valid, it will be more than a sufficient number of signatures to cause an election. Hicklin said at this point she has not done anything with the petition since there is a very specific time frame she must function within on things such as recall elections.
The city clerk said those circulating the petitions for recall have a total of 60 days to turn them in after the petitions are first taken which in this case was July 27.
Then following that 60 day deadline, Hicklin has an additional 10 days to verify that there is a sufficient number of valid District 3 residents’ signatures on the petitions.
Hicklin said the way of determining just how many signatures are required to have a recall election is to take 20 percent of the last regular election. Which in District 3 looks to be about 26 signatures.
Aragon who is not a resident of District 3 said he started thinking about a recall petition almost immediately after Witcher served at his first commission meeting.
“It was at that first meeting and he voted to raise our water bill. It was his first meeting and he voted to raise them,” said Aragon. “There are a lot of people around here that are on a set income and he said to raise the water bills.”
Aragon also said he does not feel that Witcher alliances within the city government are appropriate for a city commissioner. “He’s not doing his job,” said Aragon. “He’s just standing behind Dennis Townsend. He’s not behind the people where he should be.”
Witcher said he does not feel there is much validity in the recall which he could be facing. “I think it’s a waste of time and money,” said Witcher. “I’m going to stay.” Witcher said that a special election like the one in which he was recently elected to the commission cost the city between $35,000 and $37,000 and another election would cost at least the same amount. “But if that’s what the people want,” said Witcher, “I’m willing to go through it, but like I said, I think it’s a waste of time and money.” Witcher also said he questions why someone who is not even a resident of District 3 is the driving force behind the recall petitions.
Aragon on his part said he feels that since Commissioner Witcher helps make decisions for the entire city that the entire city has the right to take part in the recall of a commissioner.