The county registrar of voters certified this week that organizers of the petition drive to recall Mayor Charles V. Smith and three other City Council members have gathered sufficient signatures to force a recall election.
City Clerk Mary Lou Morey said the registrar finished verifying signatures Monday. Each petition had more than the 6,938 signatures required to put the measure on the ballot, she said.
Morey said there were 7,030 valid signatures on the petition to recall Smith, 7,020 to recall Craig Schweisinger, 7,052 to recall Tony Lam and 6,993 to recall Charmayne S. Bohman.
The council was scheduled to meet at 8 this morning to consider two resolutions--one asking the county Board of Supervisors to consolidate the municipal election with the state's June 7 primary, and the other to officially give notice of the recall election.
Morey, who has been city clerk since 1979, said it marks the first time in memory that a recall petition has succeeded.
Voters will be asked if the four city officials should be removed from office, and whether vacancies will be filled by election or by appointment, Morey said.
If three or all four council members are recalled, Morey said, a special election would be held. The special election, however, could be consolidated with the November general election, she said.
If just one or two council members are recalled, the seats may be filled by appointment, she said.
The terms of Smith, Lam and Schweisinger will expire in November. Bohman was elected to a four-year term in 1992.
"Their side has been heard. Our side has been heard. Now, let the people decide," said Mike Garrison, a director of Westminster Firefighters Local 2425, which is leading the recall effort.
"The people who signed the (recall) petitions were hoodwinked," said Lam. "We'll just have to work harder to convince the people that we've tried the best we could to balance the budget and reorganize the Fire Department to save taxpayers money."
The recall effort was launched in October, three months after the council eliminated the positions of five firefighters and took one firetruck out of service to reduce Fire Department spending by $1 million during the current fiscal year.
The firefighters said the reductions jeopardized public safety. But city officials said the cuts were necessary to balance the city's 1994-95 budget and reduce overtime expense in the Fire Department.
Smith and Schweisinger were also targeted for recall in 1991 over an increase in water rates, but recall proponents were unable to gather sufficient signatures. Councilman Frank Fry Jr. was also a target of the 1991 recall effort.