A group of 20 Bovill residents are trying to recall Mayor Sam Walker for the third time this year.

The most recent petition says Walker has a "pattern of unprofessional behavior unbefitting his office."

"He has allowed personal bias, business relationships, and nepotism to control the operation of city government resulting in discrimination and selective ordinance enforcement," the petition says.

"This behavior has divided the small town of Bovill into two distinct groups, with one group basking in the benefits of favoritism while the other cowers for fear of retaliation and public ridicule."

Walker replaced Mayor Mike Porter in April and was officially sworn in as the new mayor in May. Porter, who beat Chris Childers by two votes in last November's election, resigned from his mayoral duties because he said he was in the process of moving to Deary and the Bovill mayor must live in the city limits to serve in that capacity.

Walker, who said some Bovill residents also unsuccessfully tried to recall him last year when he served as a city councilor, said the petitioners' allegations are false.

The current petition says Walker has assumed a position of absolute control, personally coordinating nearly all city activities, ordering approval votes on hiring decisions, and utilizing city resources to further his personal objectives.

"Bovill deserves leaders who follow both the law and their Oaths of Office, who encourage civil discussion, who act impartially, and who treat all residents of our fine community with the respect and dignity we deserve," the petition says.

Walker said the petition is extremely vague and he would like more specific examples from the petitioners.

"I think a lot of it is they just don't like me personally," he said.

Former City Councilor Lonnie Olson, who led the petition and who could not be reached for comment, is Walker's next door neighbor.

Walker said he drove by Camas Prairie Winery in downtown Bovill recently and saw Olson sitting inside flipping Walker off as he drove by.

Walker said Olson also stands on the property line between their homes and encourages Walker to step across. Walker said he tells Olson to grow up before Walker goes back into his house.

Latah County Clerk/Auditor/Recorder Henrianne Westberg said Bovill City Clerk Tracy Prior has 15 business days from last Friday - the day her office received the petition from Olson - to forward the petition to Westberg's office.

Westberg said if and when she receives the petition, the county will check the names to be sure everyone who signed the petition is a registered Bovill voter. After that, the petitioners will have 75 days from the date of approval to collect the required number of signatures.

Westberg said the petition must be signed by Bovill registered electors equal in number to 20 percent of the number of electors registered to vote in the last general election in Bovill.

Those signatures would then be returned to Westberg's office for verification, and if they meet the required percentage, Westberg said the recall will be placed on a Bovill election ballot either in March, May, August or November of next year. A simple majority vote would be required to recall Walker.

Westberg said the first mayoral recall of Walker failed because the petition was created within 90 days of Walker's appointment, which is not allowed. The second petition made it to the District Court judge before the petitioners withdrew the petition.

Walker said he believes a long-running building code dispute between the Camas Prairie Winery and the city has something to do with the recall attempt. He said he is trying to enforce building codes and the petitioners are angry at him for doing so.

Walker said residents have gotten away with whatever they wanted in the town for so long and they do not like it when he makes them follow the rules.

He said the last petition said he was lewd, cussed in meetings, held illegal meetings and bullied the council around. All the council meetings are videotaped, Walker said.

"I got proof that I don't act like they say I do," Walker said.

He said one couple who signed one of the previous petitions came to a council meeting, and after seeing how he conducted himself, promised they would never sign the petition again.

"'It's pretty frustrating," Walker said. "It's a shame these people can't act like adults. I mean, the stuff they're doing is childish."

Prior called the third mayoral recall attempt harassment, agreeing with Walker that the complaints are vague.

"This is a hate thing," Prior said. "They don't like him. It has nothing to do with who he is as a mayor."

Walker said the petitioners are just the same small group of Bovill residents from the previous petitions, but he believes most residents are on his side.

"They're like a flock of sheep up there," he said. "You get one or two, and the rest follow."

He said he plans to stand his ground and not resign.

"If they want me out of there, they're going to have to work at it," Walker said.

To solve the bickering, Walker said everyone needs to forget about the past and work on what is best for the city.


Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to gcabeza@dnews.com.

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