Effort to Recall Libby Mayor Underway

Proponents have three months to gather signatures for recall election

By Justin Franz
Doug Roll. Justin Franz | Flathead Beacon

The effort to recall Libby Mayor Doug Roll took a significant step forward on June 17 when the Lincoln County attorney approved the language of the petition enabling proponents to start gathering signatures.

Roll will face a recall election in the fall if his opponents can gather 329 signatures before September 17.

Libby resident Tammy Brown first filed a petition to recall Roll back in April but the county attorney ruled that it did not meet legal requirements and rejected it. A revised petition was again rejected in May. Brown’s most recent recall attempt was approved on June 17. In it, she alleges that Roll violated his oath of office when he appointed a city attorney without city council consent and did not put agenda items on the meeting agendas.

“For far too long we have watched our mayor ignore the will of our elected council and abuse the proper procedures of our government,” Brown said in a statement to the Beacon. “We’ve complained that the council hasn’t taken action to stop him, but what have we done about it? This is the time for the people of Libby to stand up as one community, and in one voice proclaim that we are taking responsibility for our government.”

Roll has denied the allegations against him.

“This is frustrating because we’ve done a lot of good work,” Roll said. “I don’t even know the woman who’s trying to recall me and I don’t know what her deal is.”

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.

If enough signatures are gathered to force an election it will be the second recall effort to target a mayor in Lincoln County in the last 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.