A leader in an effort to recall Mayor Ron Littlefield said Tuesday he is unsure what the group’s next move will be after a judge’s ruling blocked any kind of election.
“We’ll have to have time to think about it,” said Jim Folkner, of Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield.
On Tuesday, Circuit Court Judge Jeff Hollingsworth denied an appeal asking him to reverse his decision that blocked an effort to recall Littlefield.
Hollingsworth wrote that there were two issues raised in the motion. The first was that a judge has no jurisdiction to block an election. Hollingsworth ruled that, under special circumstances, a judge can do so.
The second was that the mayor had no standing to bring the lawsuit to stop the election. Hollingsworth said Littlefield had every right to bring a lawsuit because of the financial obligations of running a mayoral campaign.
“Under the uncontested facts of this case, Ron Littlefield had standing to seek a declaratory judgment and injunction in the recall effort,” Hollingsworth wrote in his four-page opinion. “In addition, this court had jurisdiction to issue the declaratory judgment and the injunction.”
Harry Burnette, attorney for Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield, said parts of the decision were “sort of baffling.”
“Some guy wanting to hold his job as mayor is not a special circumstance,” Burnette said.
Hal North, Littlefield’s attorney, said Tuesday there were special circumstances every step of the way because the proper processes had not been followed, such as making sure dates were on every signature submitted to the Hamilton County Election Commission.
Hollingsworth ruled last month that a question asking if voters wanted to recall Littlefield could not be placed on the Nov. 2 general election ballot. He said the recall petitioners had not gathered more than 15,000 signatures to force a recall, a number outlined by state law.
The groups involved in the recall effort need to talk, Burnette said Tuesday, but he did not know if they would want to appeal.
When asked why the group would appeal when the election is only two weeks away, Burnette said it would be more of a matter of principle.
North said he would not be shocked if this issue came to court again.
“I was shocked they did this,” he said, “so it wouldn’t surprise me if they did an appeal.”
Cliff has worked for the Times Free Press for five years and covers Chattanooga city government. He previously covered Rhea County, as well as transportation and growth and development in Southeast Tennessee. A native of Maryville, Tenn., Cliff graduated in 2003 from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis on journalism. Before coming to Chattanooga, he was a crime reporter with Hernando Today, a supplement of The Tampa (Fla.) ...