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Mitchell resident says petition will be circulated to recall Mitchell mayor

(Matt Gade/Republic)

A petition will begin circulating this weekend in an attempt to recall Mitchell Mayor Jerry Toomey.

Mitchell resident Brad Bowling, who had a run-in with Toomey at a recent City Council meeting, said a group of residents will attempt to collect more than 1,455 signatures needed to invoke a candidate election to recall Toomey. Bowling’s petition calls for Toomey’s removal from office on the grounds of “gross incompetence” and “drunkenness.”

“The city of Mitchell deserves a mayor that isn’t a laughing stock of South Dakota,” Bowling told The Daily Republic on Thursday.

Phone messages and emails to Toomey from The Daily Republic on Thursday were not returned.

A history between Bowling and Toomey goes back to 2015, when Toomey called the police on Bowling. During a City Council meeting in February, Bowling accused Toomey of being “a drunk.”

Toomey in February released a statement about Bowling’s accusation.

"Responding to the accusations gives them a legitimacy they do not deserve," Toomey said. "However, the public forum has a critical place in government and it is important to let people voice their issues, valid or not."

Since the public argument, Bowling said several people have come to him to discuss negative interactions they’ve had with the mayor.

“The more people you talk to, the more you hear about strange things,” Bowling said.

Bowling said it won’t be a problem to gather the signatures needed to spark a recall election.

Bowling informed The Daily Republic of his petition late Thursday afternoon.

According to city Finance Officer Michelle Bathke, she would contact the secretary of state’s office if the requisite amount of signatures — 15 percent of the 9,705 voters registered during the most recent general election — is filed.

According to the secretary of state’s website, an election date must be set within 10 days of the presentation of the petition to the governing body, and the election must not be less than 30 or more than 50 days from the presentation. However, if the petition is filed on or after Jan. 1 prior to the annual municipal election and enough time is provided to comply with state laws, “the question of a successor shall be submitted at that annual election.”