Recall election to move forward
By LPR Staff
The legal battle over Lockhart”s leadership has come to an end, and it is now in the hands of Lockhart voters to decide whether a change is in order.
District Judge Paul Davis ruled on Friday that the courts should not declare the petition to recall Mayor James “Jimmy” Bertram invalid, and that the recall election should
Arguments during Friday”s hearing centered around Bertram”s fitness as a leader. While opponents alleged that he was unfit because of his decision to support cuts to the police department last September, Bertram”s representative claimed that the issue was Bertram”s mental and physical ability to serve. He claimed that Bertram”s opponents had not proven a mental or physical disability that would preclude him from continuing to act as mayor.
Davis, however, said that as a matter of law, the Court could not decide whether the allegations against Bertram were valid. He said it was up to Lockhart”s voters to decide whether Bertram should continue to serve as Mayor.
“There are two components to this issue,” Davis said. He cited the accusation that Bertram had denied the opportunity for citizen discussion and the fact that Bertram had voted in favor of an unpopular cause as the issues at hand.
“The Court can”t say whether the facts are sufficient to uphold the accusations,” he said. “Therefore, the petition for declaratory judgment is denied.”
Bertram had requested the judgment to declare the recall petition invalid.
“This is a victory for Lockhart,” said Frank Coggins, Lockhart”s former chief of police, who has been instrumental in the recall effort. “What we wanted was for the voters to be allowed to decide, and now they can.”
Coggins and other recall supporters believe firmly that a recall election will result in Bertram”s removal from office.
Bertram, on the other hand, feels the recall election will prove that he has the support of the citizens.
“I”ll win… the vote,” Bertram said after the hearing on Friday.
According to city secretary Connie Ortiz, the office of the Secretary of State has not yet posted the election requirements. However, it is likely that the recall election will take place in November.
Bertram released a statement on Monday with respect to the recall election. His statement reads:
“District court Judge Paul Davis ruled on the question of legality of the second recall petition on Friday. He stated that his ruling did not infer that I, as Mayor, was incompetent only that he believed that the petition did meet legal guidelines.
“While I do not agree with his ruling, I do respect it and would like to thank Judge Davis for his time and commitment to justice. In the interest of getting this page in history behind us and limiting the negative light that is shed on our great city, I will not exercise my right to appeal the ruling. While it is unfortunate that the city will have to expend taxpayer”s funds to hold an(other) election, I along with the majority of the citizens and city employees, look forward to the result and will consider the outcome a vote of confidence.
“I ask the citizens of Lockhart to brace for the impending lies, deceit and smear campaign that is sure to be waged against me as Mayor and me personally, which has already been demonstrated by this small group. I also ask the citizens to call, stop by City Hall or stop me out in the community to clarify any information that is sure to be misleading and make an informed opinion with all of the information, not just one side.
“Today I commit to the citizens of Lockhart that I will not get down in the mud with this group, I will stand on the issues and my record of service to the people of the city of Lockhart.”
Watch future issues of the Post-Register for further recall election developments.