The Fairmont City Council on Monday released an attorney’s summary that quashes the recall petition for Councilor at LargeTom Hawkins .
Council member Ruth Cyphers suggested reading a letter from an attorney summarizing the attorney-client privileged memorandum in which Robert T. Scott, an attorney with the St. Paul law firm of Flaherty and Hood, analyzed and offered advice on how the city should handle the recall petition for Hawkins.
Earlier in the meeting, the council voted unanimously to make the statement public, with copies of the statement to be made available today, but Cyphers pushed for transparency on the issue and read Scott’s statement aloud.
“While the City Charter provides for a recall election if the requisite number of signatures is obtained on a petition, state statutes assert that elected officials may only be removed “for malfeasance or nonfeasance in the performance of their duties,” the statement said. The city’s provisions and processes must be consistent with the state constitution.
“Even if a petition based on this recall statement is ultimately filed with the city and found by the City Clerk to be procedurally sufficient under the Charter, the City Council still should not convene a special recall election,” the statement concluded.
Because Hawkins’ recall petition does not state a specific instance of malfeasance or nonfeasance, it will not satisfy the state requirements for a special election, regardless of the number of signatures obtained.
Councilor Hawkins expressed his gratitude for the “volumes and volumes” of supportive messages he received. .