City returns mayoral recall application

Series: Mayoral recall | Story 1

The city received an application to recall Mayor Steve Prysunka early this week from a group unhappy with Wrangell's face mask requirement. But the filing was premature, said Borough Clerk Kim Lane, who returned the application. State law says a recall application may not be filed during the office holder's first 120 days on the job. That date will not come until early February for the mayor.

Lane said the city has its own statute, as well, which copies the 120 days from the state.

Don McConachie, one of the people involved in the application, said he thought he had passed the legal requirement, but must have counted the days wrong. He said he would refile after 120 days are up. The mayor's election was certified Oct. 8. The 120 days will be up in early February.

"It wasn't [just] me, it was a group of people who filed," McConachie said Tuesday. "I turned in the paperwork. ... We are just at the beginning of the process."

In addition to waiting 120 days, a recall application needs 10 signatures to start the process. Supporters would then need to gather signatures from at least 25% of voters who participated in the last election. As 483 people cast ballots in Wrangell's October 2020 election, organizers would need 121 valid signatures on their petition to force a vote on the recall.

A statement on the grounds for the recall, provided by McConachie, lists a number of grievances. Last November the borough assembly imposed a mask mandate. This restricted the public's freedoms, the statement says. The assembly also imposed fines on those who did not comply, another grievance cited by the recall organizers.

Furthermore, the statement claims that the meeting where the assembly adopted the mandate was held in violation of local law, which requires a 48-hour notice for a special emergency meeting, as well as several state statutes.

"The city throughout this pandemic has repeatedly acted in violation of state

emergency law by imposing untimely

quarantines and closures and has restricted public access and public comment in addition to the above violations," the statement reads.

"There's really nothing to comment on until I see what they're saying," Mayor Prysunka said in a phone call Tuesday. "Until it's filed, it's tough to comment."

 

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