A citizens effort to recall Mineral Wells Mayor Christopher Perricone is entering its final week to try and obtain enough signatures to call for an election to remove him from office.
Organizers acknowledge it is a monumental 30-day challenge concluding its third week. They need 1,828 signatures of city residents currently eligible to vote. That is nearly 500 more signatures than total votes cast in the 2018 mayor's race. Perricone's term ends in May.
Petitions must be turned in by the close of business on Friday, Aug. 30. Once submitted, Clifton has five days to verify the signatures. If validated, the city charter gives the targeted council person five days to resign, or council must set a date for a recall vote that must take place in no less than 30 days, nor more than 60 days.
The petition effort is organized by the Mineral Wells Tomorrow PAC. Treasurer Brad Bennett said they are not sure how many signatures have been collected over the last three weeks.
"There are lots of petitions outstanding," said Bennett. "We are pushing this weekend."
He said volunteers will be going door-to-door this weekend and a central petition signing area will be set up in The Commons area downtown beginning around 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
The petition cites 11 grounds for Perricone's dismissal:
1) Openly violates the open meetings act on executive agenda items by sharing with his supporters.
2) Willingness to commit the City of Mineral Wells in a potential multi-million-dollar lawsuit to which the city has not the funds to commit or dispose of.
3) Abdicating his responsibility to cast a vote on behalf of the citizens of Mineral Wells which are his constituents by abstaining from a vote when no conflict of interest exists.
4) Under investigation for allegedly committing perjury under sworn testimony to the Palo Pinto County Appraisal Review Board by misrepresenting the sale price of a property in order to lower taxable value of property.
5) Operating outside the scope of mayor by advocating for preferential tax treatment to a business in the city who has not fulfilled its agreement or commitment with the City of Mineral Wells, its citizens, in which this business has yet to hire employees or begin production of any goods.
6) Requested taxpayers and citizens of Mineral Wells to pay for Attorney's fees for anticipated litigation regarding potential perjury charges.
7) Hindering new business from coming to Mineral Wells and unwilling to represent the citizens and taxpayers of Mineral Wells in negotiations with the Baker Hotel Development with his refusal to sign the requested non-disclosure agreement.
8) Violates oath of office by not upholding the Constitution of the United States, State Constitution of Texas, and Charter of the City of Mineral Wells.
9) Conflict of interest existed when Mayor placed on the agenda and advocated to remove the city's certificate of occupancy for code standards on residential and commercial property, whereas he would gain as a contractor by not having to pay fees and reduce cost by not having to adhere to the codes and standards.
10) Violates charter by personally directing city staff where direction should come from the city manager or department heads.
11) Placed on the agenda and advocated for the defunding of grants to non-profits who provide valuable services to the citizens of Mineral Wells and residents of Palo Pinto County.
Mineral Wells Mayor Christopher Perricone is spawning two more investigations, following action Tuesday evening by Mineral Wells City Council.
Besides the felony perjury investigation cited, Mineral Wells City Council this week called for an investigation to look into allegations made in a formal complaint filed by the city clerk against the mayor alleging violations of the city charter that, if upheld, could result in his removal from office. Council also voted to forward to law enforcement what was described as an "altered document."
People can obtain information on the petition effort at https://www.facebook.com/mineralwellstomorrow/.
The last city council recall election took place Jan. 19, 1991, when councilman Bob Walls was targeted for removal. That effort failed by a 712-491 vote.