Darren Spellman

Spellman, minutes after being served a notice of a second recall effort.

The second recall effort against District 5 Supervisor Darren Spellman has been abandoned. Organizers learned this week that they did not submit enough signatures to launch a petition drive that could trigger a recall election on November’s ballot.

In an email, recall organizer Tillman Sherman said, “The recall was terminated due to a technicality in the election code which makes it impossible to make the November general elections, which was a primary goal of the project.” Sherman has declined further requests for an interview.

County Election Coordinator Rebecca Andahl said the state manual for local recall elections calls for 10 signatures or the number required to nominate a supervisorial candidate. In Calaveras County, supervisor candidates need 20 signatures to be nominated. Recall proponents only handed in 10 signatures.

“With this setback, they (recall proponents) weren’t going to make the timeline necessary to get the election on the November ballot,” Andahl said. “They didn’t want to cause a special election.”

This latest wrinkle marks the second time Spellman opponents have failed to recall the polarizing supervisor. Last December, the first recall effort fell 366 signatures short of the 1,702 necessary to initiate a new election.

Sherman was confident the newest recall effort would succeed because, unlike the previous attempt, he and his team were “more adequately organized.” In their press release, recall proponents stated the effort was “focused entirely on Spellman’s unacceptable behavior and actions: his disregard for policies, procedures and the law; his personal attacks on citizens, fellow supervisors and other elected officials; his threats to use his position against citizens and their businesses; and his poor attendance at board meetings, study sessions and closed sessions.”

Spellman has been mired in controversy since unseating previous District 5 Supervisor Russ Thomas in 2010. After showing up to his first board meeting in hip waders to suggest he would be trudging through mud, Spellman has accused other officials of corruption, announced his intent to run for Congress, and used his position on the Board of Supervisors to threaten the job of a high school teacher.

In an interview Wednesday, Spellman admitted to making mistakes in the past, and confessed that the recall efforts have prompted him to reflect on his performance as a supervisor.

“I would have to say that if anyone who goes through something like I did, and doesn’t make a change, then they are not very intelligent,” Spellman said. “Is anything true about what they are saying? Some of it was true, maybe only about 10 percent of it, but it gave me the opportunity to reflect and ask what can I do better.”

“The only way you can improve is to admit that you are not perfect. It doesn’t mean you are not competent and it doesn’t mean you are not professional. It just means that you will learn and grow with time.”

Contact Alex George at ageorge@calaverasenterprise.com


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