The Ronda Recall Referendum bill passed the Senate unanimously and was signed into law by N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday.
Last week the bill passed the House with a 114-1 vote on the second reading and unanimous vote on the third reading.
Wilkes County’s Sen. Shirley Randleman, and Rep. Jeffrey Elmore filed bills in early March that would allow Ronda residents to vote on a recall referendum in the next election.
“Several weeks ago Rep. Elmore filed H270 in the House, while I filed a companion bill in the Senate, S247 Ronda Recall. The identical bills allow the citizens of Ronda to vote on a referendum deciding whether or not to reinstate a recall provision in their town’s charter. The town’s original charter contained a recall provision,” said Sen. Randleman in her newsletter.
“Restoring recall to the town charter is a local issue and should be decided by the citizens of Ronda. Holding a referendum accomplishes just that, and allows for openness and transparency. The referendum will be placed on the November 2013 ballot,” said Sen. Randleman.
The majority of Ronda voters turning out on Election Day would decide if the town would implement the recall capability into its charter. If it passes then the town will be able to recall elected officials.
If more than 50 percent of the town’s 260 registered voters sign a petition asking that an elected official be removed from office, the town would hold a special election to decide the question.
If citizens voted to remove the official, the replacement would be selected by the remaining board members.
The recall issue in Ronda first came up this fall when a petition signed by over 76 residents recalling Ronda Mayor Victor Varela was presented to the town. The petition was started by Kevin Reece who was not selected to an empty seat on the board. An official with the state said the town did not have recall capability.
Since the bill has been introduced into the General Assembly, Reece has said his support of the recall referendum is not personal.
However, Mayor Varela disagrees. “It is very personal and it is about roosters and frustrated political ambition. The state has a very good mechanism in place to get rid of elected officials when a felony has been committed or election laws have been broken. I have done neither,” said Varela.
“Sometimes in governance unpopular decisions have to be made, but over the course of a full term the record balances out. With the threat of a recall looming over an elected official’s head, those decisions become much harder to make,” said Varela.
Information from the N.C. School of Government provided a list of the following towns with recall capability,
They are Aberdeen, Asheville, Cajah’s Mountain, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Foxfire, Greensboro, Hickory, Lewisville, Lumberton, Oak Island, Pinebluff, Pleasant Garden, Raleigh, Randleman, River Bend, Statesville, Troutman and Winston-Salem. Recall is also permitted for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board. No counties have recall for their commissioners.