Yermo Recall Proponents Claim Sufficient Signatures To Remove Smith & Berner

Advocates for the recall of Yermo Community Services District board members Bob Smith and Geoff Berner have collected what they believe to be a sufficient number of signatures on petitions calling for an election in which voters will be asked to remove the pair from office.
At the September meeting of the Yermo Community Services District Board of Directors, recall proponents served Smith and Berner with a notice of the petition to recall. According to the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters, the recall proponents must have their petition endorsed with 189 valid signatures of registered voters within the district to force a recall question onto the ballot.
Recall proponents believe they have passed the 189 signature threshold, and submitted 250 “raw signatures” to the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters on December 2. The registrar now has 30 business days to verify the signatures. Given the relative size of the district, however, it is anticipated that the verification process will be finished by next week. If at least 189 of those signatures are verified, the district will be informed of the certification and will then have 14 days to call for an election. The election must be held at least 88 days after but no more than 125 days from the district board’s action in accepting the certification and calling for the election.
The recall effort, led by organizer Michael Cint, is based on assertions that both Smith and Berner have not accepted responsibility for their actions which have been damaging to the community.
If successful, the recall would significantly undercut the governing authority in the district and create a new ruling dynamic there. Cint’s group also served board member Sean Cloughen with an intent-to-recall notice at the same time Smith and Berner were served, which prompted Cloughen to announce his immediate resignation from the board before the meeting was concluded. His formal resignation letter has been submitted and accepted, leaving the board one member short.
A malaise has gripped the board in the aftermath of the recall move, and last week it was learned that the district’s general manager, Melissa Martin had resigned her position. In November, Smith and director Gary Yearsley were no-shows for the board meeting, such that there was no quorum and the meeting was cancelled. Finding a replacement for Martin is now on hold and the district is in a practical state of paralysis.
It is unclear whether any potential replacement candidates for Smith and Berner will step forward. State law is unclear as to whether a recall election can proceed if candidates to replace the elected officials targeted for removal are not available.

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