Petitions calling for the recall of Superior Mayor Jayme Valenzuela were officially filed at the Superior Town Hall on the morning of April 11.
The petition packet contained the signatures of 187 Superior registered voters, according to Nancy Vogler, a leader in the recall effort. The packet will now submitted to the Pinal County Clerk’s Office, which will have 60 days to verify the signatures are legitimate and set the date of the recall election. Under state and county statutes, only 102 signatures are necessary to prompt a recall election.
By submitting the recall packet with nearly double the required signatures in only half the time allotted for the task, citizens supporting the recall of Mayor Valenzuela hope that the recall election can be set at an early date, said Vogler, also an owner of Superior Sweets and a member of the Superior Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors. However, the Pinal County Clerk’s Office has indicated that it might set the recall as late as November 8 to piggyback with the Presidential Election and thus save the cost of an additional election date.
Superior has been in an uproar since it was revealed at the December 2015 Town Council meeting that Mayor Valenzuela allegedly misused the town debit card for personal cash withdrawals at assorted venues, including the Wild Horse Pass Casino in Chandler. Mayor Valenzuela admitted to making the eight withdrawals totaling $2,300 but said he made a mistake, and since he reimbursed the town would not resign despite calls from four council members and myriad citizens.
In late January, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office has launched an investigation to determine if prosecution is warranted. Agents visited the Superior Town Hall in early February to collect documents and other evidence related to the case.
A spokesman for the Attorney General told the Superior Sun that the investigation is still ongoing at this time.
The probe prompted the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office to put Valenzuela on paid administrative reassignment from his day job as a commander in charge of contract and supplies with the County Detention Center in Casa Grande.