Recall of Douglas Mayor Robert Uribe hits roadblock

Community members make claims about money mismanagement, lack of transparency

No recall for Douglas Mayor as judge rules recall petitions invalid

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - The recall of Douglas Mayor Robert Uribe will not be on the August ballot.

That was the decision by Cochise County Superior Court Judge David Thorn on Wednesday, May 1.

Judge Thorn ruled the petition for a recall election failed to comply with state law due to a document not being attached to each page of signatures filed for the petition.

“I’m humbled and happy with the outcome, just ready to, I want to go back to work,” Uribe said. “I want to bring unity, prosperity and harmony back to our beautiful border community.”

The hearing came after Uribe’s wife, Mary Jenea Sanchez, filed a complaint alleging the petition circulated by volunteers didn’t have a serial number, which is included on the application for a recall petition.

Tanya Duarte, the defendant and leader of the recall effort, testified that each volunteer had a copy of the application, with a serial number, with the forms at all times while collecting signatures, either on a clipboard or in an envelope.

Duarte also said she attempted to turn in the application to Douglas City Clerk Brenda Aguilar, but she said she didn't need it.

“A staple. It came down to a staple," said Duarte. “It’s a technicality and no one was aware of it until the law was reinterpreted last Thursday, so at that point there was nothing we could have done anyways."

Douglas community members have demanded Uribe resign over allegations about money mismanagement, lack of transparency and his interactions with the community.

Duarte submitted more than 800 signatures on the petition earlier this year. The Cochise County Recorder’s office verified more than 650 signatures. 569 were needed to force Uribe to a recall election.

“Well, I know the truth and when it comes down to just a small technicality, that’s the law and we have to just go with it," said Duarte. "If they felt that insecure about facing a recall election, then that is their option to go that route.”

Judge Thorn said he appreciated the effort of Duarte, but he was hung up on the definition of “attach,” which is not defined in the statute. Ultimately, he ruled she failed to comply with statuary regulations.

“I want us to work together," Uribe said. "The reason why I didn’t resign is because I thought I didn’t do anything wrong and I still feel I didn’t do anything wrong. Our goal right now is to move the city of Douglas forward. We have to work together.”

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