Today the 401st District Court Ruled in favor of Tom Harrison, canceling the scheduled recall election against him.
Earlier this year democrats and city officials sought to recall Tom Harrison from the City Council. They used as their motive a controversial Facebook post by Mr. Harrison, however the real motivation is Mr. Harrison’s insistence on being a conservative voice on council and refusing to simply rubber stamp the wishes of the mayor and city manager. A recall petition was carried out, however they used an erroneous calculation for the number of signatures needed to gain ballot access.
At issue was whether one needed to use the “last” election turnout or some other nebulous random election’s turnout as the basis for calculating the number of signatures needed. The city chose to use a 2015 election turnout numbers instead of the most recent election turnout.
In the ruling the presiding judge stated “The Court finds based on clear and convincing evidence the the word “last” is included” [in the City charter]. During the trial Mr. Harrison’s attorneys uncovered multiple different versions of the city charter, causing confusion as to which was the accurate copy.
Mr. Harrison’s attorney, Art Martinez DeVara stated he was very pleased with the decision by the court. Mr. DeVara was particularly pleased that the judge disallowed the city from adding to the charter by “interpretation”, as using the 2015 election numbers was a “creative” interpretation the city was attempting to get away with.
By following the city charter and using the last election’s turnout as the basis for calculating how many signatures were needed for the petition to be valid, the petition against Tom Harrison came in short. The election is called off by the order.
Not only did the judge rule against the City of Plano, he also ordered the city to pay Mr. Harrison’s attorney’s fees within 30 days.
Congratulations Tom Harrison.
READ FULL COURT DECISION HERE.