Leon Valley City Council election recounts set; concerns cited
David Edwards, David Jordan seeking recount after tight defeats
LEON VALLEY, Texas – Updated Thursday:
The recount has been scheduled for 9 a.m. on May 16, Leon Valley Mayor Chris Riley said.
"I am in the process of calling people in the community to serve on the recount committee. The recount will be supervised and conducted by (the) Bexar County (Elections Office) with the 8 member committee. The candidates and their one poll watcher, as well as the recount supervisor, will only be present in the room, but not participating in the recount process, according to (Jacquelyn) Callanen, (elections administrator)."
After two Leon Valley incumbents were pushed out of office by a narrow margin, the request for a recount is now met with concerns over fairness.
Incumbent David Edwards lost to Donna Charles by just one vote. Newcomer Will Bradshaw beat out David Jordan by 18 votes.
Edwards and Jordan have now requested a recount through the city secretary, who oversees the coordination for city elections.
But new concerns about transparency have come up after Mayor Chris Riley appointed herself as the recount supervisor and coordinator.
According to state rules, the job can fall on the presiding officer of the local canvassing authority.
Bexar County Elections Department officials said that roles are usually taken up by the primary elections coordinator for the governing body.
In Leon Valley, it's the city secretary.
In an email, Mayor Riley informed the secretary she would be taking on both tasks.
Mayor pro tem and Councilwoman Monica Alcocer is asking the mayor to preclude herself from the responsibility.
"You've been a strong advocate for only one candidate or two and I think, because of that, it should preclude you doing it," Alcocer said during the City Council meeting Tuesday.
"Clearly, it says in the same rules that the city secretary can also do it, and it's the primary canvassing person and that's her," Alcocer said.
The mayor is expected to begin the recount process after a meeting with the county's elections office on Thursday.
"I'm gonna keep it like the rules have said I could," Riley told the council. "It's not up to me. It's up to committee (and) there will be a committee of eight people."
Alcocer said she has concerns about how fair the process will be since the mayor will also appoint the committee to oversee the results.
"Let's make a clarification because it's not as transparent as it could be if you allow the city secretary to be the other coordinator. I'm just asking for fairness," Alcocer said.
Just over 800 people voted in this year's election.
The city has been filled with controversy after Councilman Benny Martinez was accused of sexually harassing a councilwoman. Martinez is being represented by Riley & Riley Law Firm, which is represented by Darby Riley, the mayor's husband.
The mayor is also on the staff, according to the law firm's website.
Martinez was not up for reelection but his fate as city representative will likely be determined by whoever is on the City Council once the election results are finalized.
The mayor declined our request for an interview.
Edwards said, "I am hopeful that the recount will result in my reelection to the Leon Valley City Council."
The county elections office said it is waiting on the direction of the mayor to set a date for the recount.
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