Whitehall residents petition for mayor, council members recall

Whitehall residents petition for...

WHITEHALL, Mont. - Some Whitehall residents want to recall the mayor and four council members. Petitions have been signed and now a special election is scheduled, but it's going to cost the taxpayers.

The Whitehall town hall was quiet Friday despite legal action being taken against it's mayor and council members.

Election officials tell NBC Montana Whitehall resident Lynn Nemeth has enough signatures to force a recall.

Nemeth said Mayor Dale Davis and four of the six council members broke open meeting laws by approving to dispatch Whitehall ambulance crews to all fire calls without it being posted to the agenda for public comment.

"If you're local people you should have a say so. You should have a say whether you agree with it or you don't like it, you should have something to say," said Whitehall resident Alan S. Doney.

"I think the whole idea is absurd," said High Country Agricultural Marketing, Inc. owner Larry Feight. "I think the town elected the mayor and they should let the mayor do his job."

The mail-in vote will be paid for by Jefferson County, which would cost the taxpayers $1,600, according to the Jefferson County clerk and recorder.

If Mayor Davis and the council members challenge the mail-in vote, there will be a poll vote, which could cost Whitehall residents up to $10,000.

"I just think if a special election is put on the burden of the tax people here in the town, we got a lot more important things that this community needs to have money spent on than a recall election," Feight said.

The city's attorney's told NBC Montana there's no violation of Montana open meeting laws because although the motion wasn't on the agenda, the meeting was not private. They said that's why they're planning to file a petition with district court challenging the legal sufficiency of the recall petition.

The attorneys said the mayor and council members have not answered whether or not they want to challenge the mail-in vote. The deadline to file the challenge is June 22.

Officials said the special election is currently scheduled for August 16.

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