Ellisville Recall Leader: Post-Walmart Appointees Would Need New Direction
Liz Schmidt discusses the road ahead for removing the Ellisville City Council members who supported a Walmart Superstore expected to displace residents, and addresses the city's procedure to replace them.
The leader of a group aimed at removing Ellisville City Council members who supported a Walmart coming to town says she hopes any potential replacements appointed by the mayor look beyond retail in seeking revenue for the city.
"I hope people accept who it is, and say, 'I will be willing to work with you,' perhaps to take Ellisville in a different direction than the one we just came from," said Liz Schmidt, chairperson of the Ellisville Article 9 Alliance and a resident of Clarkchester Apartments, which is among properties expected to be demolished under plans for a Walmart Superstore advanced by the Ellisville City Council this month.
The Ellisville city charter says an official cannot be recalled his or her first 120 days in office, nor can they be recalled within 180 days from that official’s next election. Because of that clause, Schmidt said, immediate efforts will be centered around Council members Dawn Anglin and Troy Pieper, who are eligible for recall currently since they were not re-elected in April. Council members Roze Acup, Matt Pirrello and Linda Reel, meanwhile, will not be eligible for recall until August.
Schmidt said she was disappointed to learn that Tuesday, Nov. 6 falls within 180 days of next April’s municipal elections, meaning that per the city charter, a recall cannot take place at the presidential elections, when historically voter turnout is high.
“I was heartbroken,” Schmidt said last week of the discovery. “But you can’t change the laws of time and space."
Like any vacancies on Ellisville City Council, any openings that result from a recall would be filled through an appointment by the mayor, followed by confirmation from the remaining council members. Mayor Adam Paul, who ran a campaign leading into April's elections centered around opposition to Walmart, was one of two 'no' votes regarding the Walmart project. Alderman Michelle Murray also voted against the proposals.
"The remainder of the board may not approve whoever the mayor appoints, but that's not our problem," Schmidt said.
Before the council's June 20 meeting, Schmidt said, the group will send an affidavit to City Hall identifying plans to officially petition residents within Districts 1 and 2, which are co-represented by Anglin and Pieper, about the recall. Once petitions are issued, the group will have to collect signatures within a 90 day window, which Schmidt said is likely to begin shortly after the June council meeting.