The unpopular hiring of former Chief Wayne Eder as interim Chief has prompted a recall campaign targeting two members of the Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District (NACFD). Donna Rushing, the mother-in-law of Fire Captain Brian Grant, is trying to give voters the opportunity to remove Chairman Patty Lewis and member Vic Riccardi from the fire district governing board.
Rushing visited the Mohave County elections office to file necessary paperwork to initiate the ouster effort on Monday, March 27.
“That starts the clock and they have 120 days to circulate and file in my office petitions for the recall of each of these two board members,” said elections director Allen Tempert. He said supporters must collect 892 valid signatures to qualify the proposed recalls for special election.
The statement proposes that Lewis and Riccardi should be removed from office in order to restore respect, accountability and transparency to the fire district. It alleges that Lewis, Riccardi and board member Sue Wilkin have bullied employees, created a hostile work environment and violated Arizona Open Meeting Laws by conducting district business outside board meetings.
“The Board Majority has wasted taxpayer dollars by hiring an interim fire chief who was responsible for wasting millions of taxpayer dollars,” the statement said. “In the interest of taxpayers, we need to send the message that fiscal responsibility comes before politics.”
An elected official must be in office for at least six months before they are subject to recall under Arizona law. Wilkin was elected last November and is not eligible for recall while Lewis and Riccardi are early in the third year of their four year terms of office.
Tempert said county officials will review the recall petitions should they be submitted within 120 days. If they are validated, the Board of Supervisors would be asked to schedule a special recall election.
“If they really do a good job getting things together and getting them into us pretty quickly and we’re able to process them there’s a possibility for them to be able to have the election in November of this year,” Tempert said. “If not, then it would have to be March of the following year, which would probably be the time frame.”
(Captain Ed Eads and other firefighters pleaded unsuccessfully with the board in protest of the hiring of Wayne Eder)