LEON VALLEY, Texas – A group of Leon Valley residents have formally turned in more than 1,500 signatures seeking the removal of Council members Monica Alcocer and Donna Charles from office.
Members of the group submitted their intent to circulate the petitions in September and had 90 days to gather signatures.
The petitions received by the city secretary will be reviewed and validated before a recall would take place.
Some of the members involved in the recall include former council members Benny Martinez and David Edwards and active members of current city boards, such as the Home Rule Charter committee.
Mayor Chris Riley was also present outside the steps of City Hall with the group.
In a statement, Riley cited a big reason residents signed the petition.
“They want the citizens, not the staff or a few councilors, to decide whether to remove a councilor for misconduct. It’s important to our city’s future that a miscarriage of justice like what happened to Councilor Martinez not be allowed to stand,” Riley said.
The recall efforts started after a 3.12 hearing that looked into sexual harassment and hostile work environment claims against Martinez, who was eventually removed from office.
Alcocer said it was her duty to hear the evidence and testimony against Martinez.
"I do not condone nor will I ever agree with the way Councilor Martinez treated his colleagues or the staff members of the city of Leon Valley," Alcocer said in a statement.
Alcocer and Charles voted to remove Martinez while Councilmember William Bradshaw voted against removal. Riley had no vote. Councilwoman Catherine Rodriguez was not allowed to vote because she was among those who filed a complaint against Martinez.
"The recall began because Mayor Riley and a group of her supporters did not like the outcome of the 3.12 hearing against her political ally (Martinez)," Charles said in a statement.
Martinez, who was present when the signatures were turned in, has filed a lawsuit against the city.
Once the signatures are certified, a special meeting will be held. A new election would take place in May 2020.