In Payson, Arizona, a recall effort targeting Mayor Tom Morrissey is moving forward after enough petition signatures in support of the recall were verified over the week of September 16. Petitioners were required to submit 770 valid signatures in order to put the recall on the ballot; the town government had not set a date for the recall election as of September 27.
The recall effort has been organized by a group of residents under the name Unite Payson. They initiated the recall in response to the firing of Town Manager LaRon Garrett on August 8. The group is also gathering signatures to recall three council members—Suzy Tubbs-Avakian, Janell Sterner and Jim Ferris—for the same reason. Additionally, Councilman Steve Smith is being targeted for recall due to allegations that he “has created animosity and discord at every Payson council meeting in the attempt to disrupt new motions and progress.” There are seven members on the Payson Town Council, including the mayor.
Morrissey responded to the recall effort after the signatures were certified. He said, “I have no intention of resigning. The recall group consists of a small group of folks who lost the election and are bitter, and some folks who lost political control of the town and want it back. I am working for and will continue to work for all the residents of this town.”
Recall organizers have 120 days after petitions are filed to gather signatures. The signature requirement for recalls against each council member is 1,653 valid signatures per member.
In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.