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Glad you asked: Can the mayor be recalled?

Q: Is it possible to recall a mayor?

According to South Dakota Codified Law 9-13-29, a mayor, commissioner, council member or any member of the board of trustees may be removed from office "at any time by the voters qualified to vote for a successor."

Following two heated exchanges between Mitchell Mayor Jerry Toomey and two separate Mitchell residents at a City Council meeting on Monday night, The Daily Republic received calls asking if it's possible to recall the mayor. Councilman Marty Barington also told The Daily Republic Tuesday he had heard from at least 10 people asking if the mayor could be recalled, and Councilman Dan Allen said that decision is up to the residents of Mitchell.

"No, I'm not going to get in that game, it's not going to be my thing to recall him," Allen said Tuesday. "I guess that's up to the public, not me."

According to state law, the public does have the ability to recall the mayor. South Dakota Codified Law 9-13-30 states that a petition signed by 15 percent of the registered voters in a municipality — based on the number of registered voters in the most recent general election — can demand the election of a successor to the mayor.

According to the Mitchell finance office, there were 9,705 voters registered in the most recent election, meaning more than 1,455 registered voters would need to sign a petition to recall the mayor.

Once the signatures are gathered, they must be delivered to the finance office of the city.

According to state law, a mayor may be removed on the grounds of "misconduct, malfeasance, nonfeasance, crimes in office, drunkenness, gross incompetency, corruption, theft, oppression or gross partiality."

On Monday, Toomey was accused of being "a drunk" by a local man who Toomey once called the police on and followed home after Toomey said he suspected the man ran multiple stop lights. His accuser, Brad Bowling, said he could smell alcohol on Toomey's breath, an allegation Toomey quickly denied.

Later in the same City Council meeting, Toomey entered a spat with Tim Jones, of Jones Supply, after Jones accused Toomey of using a personal "vendetta" against him to make a directive to order janitorial and cleaning supplies through a state bid. Toomey also denied this allegation, citing potential cost savings as the reason for making the decision.

Toomey was elected by 58 percent of Mitchell voters in 2015 in an election in which he squared off with incumbent former Mayor Ken Tracy, who took home 42 percent of the vote. Toomey earned the support of 406 more votes than Tracy in the June election when 2,630 Mitchell residents voted.

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