Petitions containing more than 300 signatures asking for Mayor Jim Boles to be recalled were turned in to the city clerk on May 17.
Maria “Bunny” Gamez took out petitions in January for Boles and Council members Harold Soehner, Dee Rodriguez and Robin Boyd. However, even though she said she had at least 245 signatures to have them recalled too, Gamez said she did not have at least 30-percent above the required amount to hand in the petitions. Only 229 signatures were needed to recall the mayor.
In the petition statement, Gamez said Boles has been “rude, disrespectful and belittling to members of the community.” For several Council meetings leading up to the recall petitions, Gamez and Boles were often arguing back and forth during the public forum. In one meeting, Boles asked a Winslow police officer to remove Gamez. The officer stood next to her at the podium but Gamez sat down without his assistance.
City Clerk Suzy Wetzel has 10 days, not including weekends and holidays, to forward the signatures to the Navajo County Recorder’s Office. The county has 60 days from receiving the signatures to verify every one.
“I’m sure there’s enough good signatures for the mayor to be recalled,” Gamez said.
Boles was elected in May 2004 to serve a two-year term. He received 545 votes to write-in candidate Robert Carr’s 370 votes.
Boles said he doesn’t put much stock in the petitions because he has had people tell him that the people circulating the Proposition 300 referendum petitions were “grossly misrepresenting” them.
“I made two promises when I first became mayor — to be a full-time mayor and to do my best,” he said. “I was hired by the citizens and in the meantime if I’m to keep my word, then I’ll continue to do my best.”
Based on comments she heard from people who signed the petitions, Gamez said she doesn’t believe Harold Soehner or Dee Rodriguez would be reelected anyway and that’s another reason she didn’t turn in their petitions.
Winslow resident Eloise DeSpain is circulating a petition to have Council member Judy Howell recalled as well. DeSpain has until June 2 to turn in at least 245 signatures.