An organized group of voters in the City of Palestine are demanding the resignation of Mayor Therrell Thomas and District 6 Councilman Steve Presley, and plan to initiate recall efforts if the elected officials don't step down by July 14.
In a letter to both members of council Tuesday, a copy of which was provided to TylerPaper.com today, the citizens told Mayor Thomas and Councilman Presley the specific reasons for their demands, which revolve around the city's elected leadership's response to recent reports of a lack of faith among Palestine police officers in the leadership of Police Chief Robert Herbert, who was fired in June:
"• By their inaction, they caused the police department crisis to escalate resulting in racial tension, which jeopardized the safety of the community and its reputation;
"• A failure to promote a city organization that resolves problems using a systematic approach for the efficient delivery of services;
"• By their inaction, has allowed City Manager Wendy Ellis to act with a total disregard for fiscal responsibility and failed to supervise the city manager in her actions."
Ellis, in her role, both hired and fired the police chief.
“If Mayor Thomas and Councilman Presley resign prior to or on July 14, we will not move forward with the petition, but if they decide they want to stay on council, the citizen’s voice will be heard through the recall process,” Nina Tatum, the recall organizer said in a prepared statement. “I am confident we will obtained the required number of signatures needed to cause a recall election.”
The organizers have created a Facebook page that can be reached through a shortcut at http://recall.smalltownjustice.com .