Granite Shoals recall petition certified

Granite Shoals recall election

Citizens’ Rights Group of Granite Shoals has collected enough verified signatures to put a recall election for Mayor Carl Brugger (left) and Councilor Bruce Jones on the May 2021 ballot. Courtesy photos

Granite Shoals City Secretary Elaine Smith on Oct. 9 certified a petition to recall the city’s mayor and one councilor. Citizens’ Rights Group of Granite Shoals collected the petition’s signatures.

The group wants to recall Mayor Carl Brugger and Place 2 Councilor Bruce Jones due to their support of a $37,000 pay raise for City Manager Jeff Looney. 

The recall election can occur in May 2021. It will not be on the Nov. 3 ballot. 

Brugger’s term ends in May 2021, and he’s not eligible to run again because of term limits. Jones is running unopposed for re-election in November. 

Group spokesman Phil Ort said that despite Brugger not being able to run again, group members have no regrets about recalling his seat.

“It sends a very good message that the citizens have the right and can take action when city leaders refuse to listen to us,” he said. 

During their Aug. 4 meeting, City Council members unanimously approved increasing Looney’s salary from $125,000 a year to $167,000. Their reason was it brought Looney’s salary in line with other Highland Lakes city managers. 

After some pushback, the $37,000 raise came back before the City Council a week later with Councilor Jim Davant motioning to rescind it along with additional vacation time for Looney. Councilor Ron Munos seconded the motion, but that’s all the support it mustered and it failed 5-2.  

A few days later, several residents formed Citizens’ Rights Group of Granite Shoals. 

Initially, the group took aim at the entire council but scaled back to focus on Brugger and Jones. 

The members began a petition drive to recall the mayor and Jones but missed a deadline to put the measure on the Nov. 3 ballot, pushing it to the May 2021 election. 

According to the city secretary’s letter certifying the petition, the group collected 221 signatures, of which 186 were valid under the city’s charter and met its requirements for a recall election. 

Smith will present the documents to the City Council during its Tuesday, Oct. 13, meeting.

The councilors will also meet in executive session to consult with City Attorney Joshua Katz regarding the recall petition. 

While the citizens’ group met some bumps along the road to complete the recall petition, Ort said it was worth it. 

“It shows it can be done. Most say you can’t fight City Hall,” he said. “It was a great effort. A lot of people were involved. There is no taxation without representation. We will continue to recall until city leaders listen to us. I hope citizens are encouraged to take back their cities.”

The Oct. 13 City Council meeting begins at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road. Since city offices are open to the public, the meeting will take place in person as well as online through Zoom. Check the agenda for the Zoom connection information. 

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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