ALBION — Albion Mayor Sharon Hardy-Mills Wilmot said April 17 she was surprised by the news that citizens in her town filed a prospective petition asking for a recall election for her office.
“I am on my honeymoon,” Hardy-Mills Wilmot said. “And my daughter called me asking if I knew about the petition.”
The petition claimed that the mayor does not have the knowledge to run the city “adequately or fairly” and that “she abused the office of mayor,” and that the utility bills in the city have risen since she took office, Albion City Clerk Mary Yeaman said.
The petition states that the mayor and council’s salary have gone up 300 percent and employees are not treated fairly. The city maintenance man resigned due to the problem and the city no longer has full-service maintenance.
“That’s not a decision the mayor makes; that’s made by the City Council,” Yeaman said.
Yeaman said the mayor only votes to break a city council tie vote.
The city hired a person to help the city’s maintenance employee—before the maintenance employee quit, city officials said in response to a records request.
“I don’t know what the petition says so anything I’d say about it would just be conjecture,” Hardy-Mills Wilmot said. “No one has come to me with any issues.”
The Cassia County elections office sent out a memo on Monday stating the office certified 13 of 20 signatures on a prospective petition for the recall of the Albion mayor. The petition was returned to the city.
According to Idaho elections law, the petition must contain 20 percent of the number of registered voters in the last general election held for that office.
Cassia County Clerk Joe Larson said the county could verify only 13 of the signatures as registered voters.
Yeaman said the petition is now null and void and if residents want to try again they have to start over with a new petition.
The earliest election where a recall could be on the ballot would be in August, Yeaman said.
In 2015 the mayor salary was $50 a month and council salaries ran $35 a month, according to city records. In 2016 the council approved increases for both to be competitive with other cities the same size. The mayor’s salary was increased to $500 a month and council salaries to $300. The new salaries took effect in January.
Gene Pitchford, of Albion, who signed the petition, said he did not have any personal problem with the mayor.
He said there were several people working on the petition but he did not know who “was the backbone of it.”
“We have super high utility bills, they’ve went up over $100 and she ran our maintenance man off,” Pitchford said. “She belittles everyone who comes to the meetings and makes them feel like a child.”
Amanda Burton, who also signed the petition also declined to disclose who circulated the petition.
She said in a Facebook message that her husband worked for the city for 10 years and did not get along with the mayor and was “subject to bullying from her.”
“I’ve attended a city council meeting and she was very rude and disrespectful to some of the citizens,” Burton wrote.
Hardy-Mills Wilmot was appointed as mayor before she was elected in 2015. She was appointed to fill the remainder of Don Bowden’s term and ran for the office unopposed. She has 20 months before her term will expire.
“We are going on a mission in two years, and I wasn’t planning to run again,” Hardy-Mills Wilmot said.
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