Granite Shoals Councilor Bruce Jones resigned Tuesday, Oct. 27, from his Place 2 seat, just two weeks after a recall election for him and former Mayor Carl Brugger was set for May 2021.
With Jones’ resignation, the May recall election is now off. Brugger resigned earlier in October and was replaced by councilor and Mayor Pro Tem Will Skinner.
City Attorney Joshua Katz said the city charter outlines that if City Council members targeted in a recall election step down, the council cannot call for or hold a recall election for them.
However, Jones’ absence from the dais may be short-lived. He is running unopposed in the Nov. 3 election for the Place 2 seat. Katz said that if Jones wins, he will once again become the Place 2 councilor.
Jones wasn’t present at the Oct. 27 council meeting during which Skinner read his letter of resignation. Part of that letter stated:
“Mayor Brugger and I were both targeted due to the raise that the city manager received following the act of incompetent, misconduct, or malfeasance during a pandemic and a recession as stated in the petition. The politics of the petition is what is wrong with the country today. Angry people who want to spread anger, resentment because they do not understand market value and how to conduct business. During the last three years, our council considered change the city manager’s salary, our city’s revenue increased, not decreased. The city’s financial position did not deteriorate as a result of the pandemic, it improved. I know this group will never agree on what we did as a council. Not once but twice was (Looney’s pay raise) voted and passed. The mayor and I were singled out for no reason.”
In August, the council approved a $37,000 raise for City Manager Jeff Looney, bringing his salary to $162,000, which members felt was more in line with his duties and the salaries of other city managers of comparable municipalities. However, after some pushback, two council members attempted to rescind the raise, but the measure failed.
The Citizens Rights Group of Granite Shoals formed after the pay hike and garnered enough signatures on a petition to force the May 21 recall election.
If Jones is re-elected Nov. 3, he will take his oath of office Nov. 17 during a special meeting where city leaders will also canvass the vote.
Looney said if residents wish to recall Jones a second time, under the city charter’s rules, then the earliest they can begin that process is 90 days after Jones is sworn in, which is Feb. 17, 2021.
In other news, the council voted Councilor Ron Munos as the city’s Mayor Pro Tem to replace Skinner in the role.
Now, with the May recall election basically canceled and Jones likely rejoining the council on Nov. 17, Looney said he hopes residents can begin a healing process.
“You would hope it would be a fresh slate,” he said. “I guess that will be known in the future. The healing is wanted, the healing is warranted.”