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KBest News has submitted multiple Open Records Requests to the City of Big Spring, Texas Rangers/DPS, and the Texas Attorney General. “Just the Facts” is a series of news reports resulting from months of fact-checking, research, and Public Information Requests made by KBest News to address the issues and questions that have arisen in the Big Spring city government regarding upcoming elections and requests for recall.

 

 

What will the ballot look like for the recall?

(Example A)

 

City Council Member Recall

 

District 6

 

“Shall Jim DePauw be removed from the office of City Councilmember?”

O For the recall of Jim DePauw

 

O Against the recall of Jim DePauw

 

(Example B)

City Council Member Recall

 

District 5

 

“Shall Camilla Strande be removed from the office of City Councilmember?”

O For the recall of Camilla Strande

 

O Against the recall of Camilla Strande

 

(Example C)

City Council Member Recall

 

Mayor

 

“Shall Shannon D. Thomason be removed from the office of Mayor?”

O For the recall of Shannon D. Thomason

 

O Against the recall of Shannon D. Thomason

 

 

What does it mean if I vote “For the recall”?

“For the recall” means that you want to remove the representative from their elected position. If there’s a majority of votes for this option, the elected official will be removed from office for the remainder of his or her term.

 

 

What does “Against the recall” mean?

“Against the recall” means that you do not want to remove the elected official from their position. If there’s a majority of votes for this option, the elected official will complete the remainder of their term.

 

 

What happens if any of the elected officials win their recall election?*

If the majority of the votes be against the removal of any officer, he or she shall continue in office, not subject to recall until the expiration of at least three months from the date of the unsuccessful recall election. [1]

 

 

What happens if District 6 Councilman Jim DePauw is recalled?*

DePauw has less than a year left in his term as the District 6 Councilmember. If the majority of the votes choose to recall him, DePauw will be removed from his position and the remaining councilmembers will appoint someone to complete his term - which is set to expire in May 2021. It should be noted that in the event that there is more than one vacancy created at the same time (Strande or/and Thomason are also recalled on November 3, 2020), then a special election will be called to fill the unexipired term [2]. This election would be held between 46 days after the election is called and 120 days after the removal of the officeholder.

 

 

What happens if District 5 Councilwoman Camilla Strande is recalled?*

Strande has over a year left in her term as District 5 Councilmember. If the majority of the votes choose to recall her, Strande will be removed from her position. A special election will be called to elect a new District 5 Councilmember. This election would be held between 46 days after the election is called and 120 days after the removal of the officeholder.

 

In the meantime, the remaining council members will carry on with city business without a representative for District 5 until a new one is elected. The newly elected councilmember will then complete the remainder of the term, which is set to expire in May 2022.

 

 

What happens if Mayor Shannon D. Thomason is recalled?*

Thomason has over a year left in his term as the Mayor of Big Spring. If the majority of the votes choose to recall him, Thomason will be removed from his position. A special election will be called to elect a new Mayor of Big Spring. This election would be held between 46 days after the election is called and 120 days after the removal of the officeholder. The newly elected Mayor will then complete the remainder of the term, which is set to expire in May 2022.

 

In the meantime, the remaining council members will carry on with city business with the Mayor Pro-Tem presiding over the council meetings. 

 

 

Who is the Mayor Pro-Tem? 

The position of Mayor Pro Tempore or "Mayor Pro Tem" is created by the Charter of the City of Big Spring [3]. Councilwoman Camilla Strande, District 5, is the current Mayor Pro-Tem as of the date that this article was published; however, the council may choose a new Mayor Pro-Tem at any time. 

 

 

What happens if both the Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tem are recalled?*

By ordinance, if neither the Mayor nor the Mayor Pro-Tem are present, the Council Members present shall elect a Council Member to preside over the meeting.

 

(* - See photos below: "Public Service Announcement" regarding "Recall Election General Information" from Donald Moore, City Secretary, dated Oct. 2, 2020)

 

(right click on image and choose "Open image in new tab")

 

(right click on image and choose "Open image in new tab".)

 

 

If someone is removed from office through a recall election, can they run for office again at a later time?

According to an announcement written by Big Spring City Secretary Donald Moore, a City elected official removed by recall election is not therefore disqualified from elected office in the future.

 

 

 

(Photo: Press Release, dated October 5, 2020, from Donald Moore, City Secretary of Big Spring, concerning additional general information about the recall election. - Right click on image and choose "Open image in new tab".)

 

 

Is the City of Big Spring Fire Department allowed to endorse political candidates?

According to a press release written by former Big Spring City Manager Todd Darden on May 17, 2019, “The City of Big Spring is prohibited by State law from endorsing any candidates and from using any funds to support any election, except for providing general information.”

 

 

(Photo: Press Release, dated May 17, 2019, from Todd Darden, then City Manager of Big Spring, concerning advertisements placed within the community stating that Big Spring Firefighters endorse candidates for city election. - Right click on image and choose "Open image in new tab".)

 

 

Footnotes:

1 - Big Spring, TX - Code of Ordinances / PART I - CITY CHARTER / Article XI. - Recall of Councilmen and/or Councilwomen, Sec. 6. - Ballots at election; effect of election., https://library.municode.com/tx/big_spring/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTICICH_ARTXIRECOCO 

2 - Big Spring, TX - Code of Ordinances / PART I - CITY CHARTER / Article VI.-City Officers and Employees, Sec. 3. - Vacancies in Council., https://library.municode.com/tx/big_spring/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTICICH_ARTVICIOFEM

3 - Big Spring, TX - Code of Ordinances / PART I - CITY CHARTER / Article IV. - City Government / Sec. 4. - Mayor to preside over council; mayor pro tempore; council quorum., https://library.municode.com/tx/big_spring/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTICICH_ARTIVCIGO 

 

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