3 Arkansas mayors ousted in recall elections

November 10, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Three Arkansas mayors have been removed in recall elections.

This marks the most recalls in an election since a state law allowing the removal of elected officials was enacted in 2009, according to Arkansas Municipal League executive director Don Zimmerman. Voters are allowed to remove officials in the middle of their four-year terms, if they can gather signatures from at least 25 percent of the town or county’s qualified electors.

Earle Mayor Carolyn Jones, Humphrey Mayor Rodney Henderson and Hartford Mayor James Baker were recalled in Tuesday’s election, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2fUtpN8 ).

Earle City Attorney Davis Loftin said the City Council will appoint an interim mayor, with a special election for a new mayor held in January.

Humphrey alderman Michael Hodges said the City Council appointed recorder and treasurer Robert Blessing as the interim mayor.

“He was a tough dude to work with,” Hodges said. “He was not mayor material.”

According to Baker, Sebastian County city recalled him because he “was not a puppet” and he broke a tie vote among council members to renovate City Hall. Baker also said he angered some council members by firing the city’s museum director.

“The council thought I’d be a pushover,” he said. “I wasn’t.” Baker will serve until as mayor until Wednesday, and then plans to move out of Hartford.

Hughes Mayor Grady Collum avoided being ousted in his recall election in the St. Francis County town of 1,441.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com