Recall Petition Filed Against Libby Mayor

If petition passes legal muster, proponents will have to gather signatures to force recall election

By Justin Franz
Doug Roll. Justin Franz | Flathead Beacon

A Libby woman has filed a petition to recall Mayor Doug Roll.

On April 13, Tammy Brown filed a petition alleging that Libby’s two-term mayor had violated his oath of office and the city charter. The petition asks the Lincoln County election administrator to conduct a recall election.

The petition was sent to the county attorney’s office. The county attorney has one week to review the petition and, if it passes legal muster, it will be returned to the applicant who must gather signatures from 20 percent of registered voters from the last election. Election Administrator Leigh Riggleman said 329 signatures would be needed to force a recall election.

In her petition, Brown states that Roll violated his oath of office and the law because he has refused to schedule meetings or address items brought up by the city council. Brown also alleges that Roll bypassed the council to appoint a new city attorney.

“Doug Roll has demonstrated his incompetence by continually failing to perform his duties, as spelled out in the city charter,” the petition reads.

In an interview with the Beacon on April 15, Roll denied the allegations outlined in the petition. He said he will continue to attempt to work with other council members and the petition is a distraction.

“I’ve never broken state law or the city charter,” Roll said. “We have a group of people who don’t like how things are going and they want to change it right now instead of waiting until the next election.”

The petition for recall is just the latest drama on Libby’s city council in the last few years. For years, many of the issues have stemmed from the dysfunctional relationship between Roll and Councilmen Allen Olsen. But recently, disagreements have developed between Roll and other councilors, specifically Brent Teske, Dejon Raines and Brian Zimmerman, all of whom have asked Roll to step down as mayor. In previous interviews with the Beacon, both Raines and Zimmerman criticized the mayor for how he’s conducted city business. Raines said Roll has canceled city council meetings even though the government board has important work to do, like confirming the mayor’s city attorney appointment and fixing the fire department’s sagging roof.

If the petition is validated and enough signatures are gathered to force an election it will be the second recall effort to target a mayor in Lincoln County in four years. In 2012, a Troy city councilor filed a recall petition against the late Donald Banning, alleging the mayor had repeatedly abused his power by approving contracts and firing city employees without council consent. Banning filed a restraining order against the petition in district court but a judge ruled the recall election would go forward. In May 2012, Banning was recalled by a vote of 190 for removal and 123 against.

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