LAWRENCE — The leaders of a local group working to remove Mayor William Lantigua from office said they will submit 150 signatures to the city clerk this afternoon, kicking off a process that could lead to a recall election.
Rev. Edwin Rodriguez and Wayne Hayes, organizers of the committee known as "It's Your Right - Es tu Derecho," plan to submit an affidavit containing the signatures to City Clerk William Maloney today at 2 p.m.
The group has collected the signatures over the last three weeks.
"It's been worth it," Rodriguez said yesterday. "I predict we will be victorious."
In order to recall an elected official in Lawrence, at least 100 voters must sign an affidavit. Once the signatures are certified as authentic by the city clerk, the recall organizers are given printed petitions and have 30 days to collect signatures of at least 15 percent of the number of voters in the last city election.
That means the committee would need at least 5,232 more signatures.
"We will have an army to go door to door targeting registered voters to invite them to sign the recall sheets," wrote Rodriguez and Hayes in a statement released yesterday. "We have many residents that are willing to give some time to complete this historic task. We welcome others to call and join."
If the committee is successful and the 5,232 signatures are verified, Lantigua would have five days to resign or the City Council would order an election within 60 days. The election ballot would ask voters whether they are for or against the recall.
It also would include the names of candidates to succeed Lantigua.
Lantigua declined comment yesterday when asked about the recall effort.
"When (Lantigua) sees the first signatures, he knows it's on," said Javier Negron, a Berkeley Street resident and treasurer of the recall committee. "This is not a game. This is not a gimmick. It's a serious committee behind this.
"We're doing it with a lot of pride and encouragement. We have supporters. This man has to resign for the betterment of the city."
The leaders of "It's Your Right - Es tu Derecho" claim the group is made up of residents from across the city, including many former Lantigua supporters.
They cite Lantigua's "divisive" words and actions, lack of leadership on key issues, and the mayor's "reckless disregard for law enforcement and public safety" as the main reasons why they are pushing for a recall.
"The committee is disappointed that a recall is necessary but can see no other recourse, other then the resignation of the mayor," the committee leaders wrote.
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