Group seeks to recall city directors Allen, Rissler

Marc Hayot/Herald-Leader Copies of the petitions to recall City Directors David Allen and Lesa Rissler.
Marc Hayot/Herald-Leader Copies of the petitions to recall City Directors David Allen and Lesa Rissler.

A grassroots group called Unite Siloam is seeking to recall City Directors David Allen and Lesa Rissler.

The Siloam Springs-based group wants to remove the two directors because of the firing of City Administrator Phillip Patterson and the belief held by the group that the city board is trying to make decisions and disregarding input from the citizens, according to Matt Feyerabend, a member of Unite Siloam.

Unite Siloam started March 8, the day after Patterson was fired on March 7 and has at least 30-40 people in the group, Feyerabend said. The petition was available for people to sign on the evening of Wednesday, March 15, Feyerabend said.

Feyerabend does not know exactly how many signatures the group has already obtained but said there are approximately 10-15 people are out trying to get signatures, he said. The petitions are also available at Heart of the Home shop and will soon be available at Ivory Bill Brewing Co. for people to sign, Feyerabend said.

The Herald-Leader reached out to both Allen and Rissler for comment.

Rissler said she represents the citizens, so it's up to the citizens to make the decision.

Allen declined to comment.

Recall process

According to ACA § 14-48-114, to remove a city director in a city administrator form of government, citizens will need to submit a petition requesting the removal, said City Clerk Renea Ellis, who read from the statute.

The petitions need to be signed by 35 percent of the total of the number of votes cast for all candidates for that office in the preceding general municipal election, Ellis said.

Ellis said the city clerk will determine the sufficiency of the petitions within 10 days from the date of filling. If the petitions are deemed sufficient, the clerk shall certify them to the county board of election commissioners, Ellis said.

The county board of election commissioners shall issue a proclamation calling for a special election on the question and fix a date for holding not more than 90 days from the date of the certification of the petitions by the clerk, Ellis said.

At the election the question shall be submitted as voting for or against the removal of the director, Ellis said.

If a majority of qualified electors voting on the question vote to remove the director a vacancy shall exist in the board, Ellis said. If the electors vote against the removal, the director shall continue to serve during the term they were elected for.

No recall petition shall be filed against any director until they have held their position for six months. Allen was sworn in in January of 2021, so this does not apply to him.

Rissler was recently re-sworn in January of this year so the petition to recall Rissler cannot be filed until July, Ellis said. Since Rissler ran unopposed in the 2022 election, the 35 percent needed to recall Rissler will have to come from the last election where her position was contested, which was in 2018, Ellis said.

For Allen, a total of 1,875 votes (35 percent of 5,359 votes cast citywide for the at-large position in the November 2020 election) are needed, according to official results from the 2020 General Election provided by the Benton County Election Commission.

For Rissler, a total of 319 votes are required out of the 912 cast in Ward 4 in November of 2018.