A third party observer will not be allowed to watch city staff verify signatures on the second petition to remove Lubbock City Councilwoman Linda DeLeon from office.
"I won't allow this process to become an acrimonious forum for competing interests. This process must and will remain neutral," Lubbock City Secretary Becky Garza said.
She made that announcement late Wednesday afternoon, after consulting with the Secretary of State's Office. This was Garza's second meeting since organizers handed in the recall petition Monday evening.
NewsChannel 11 asked city staff members why they had to consult with the State about an observer? They tell us the city wanted the State's opinion. We're told the Secretary of State's office would not offer any legal advice, but they did offer scenarios about what could happen.
Staff says the State did advise them it was ultimately the city's decision to make, and Garza says it is her office's duty to verify this second petition and only her office.
"My decision was not made lightly. It was derived after thoughtful and careful consideration. My obligation is to ensure the sanctity of the election process for the citizens of Lubbock, and I believe my decision serves the best interest of the citizens," Garza said.
Garza did not take any questions at Wednesday's meeting, but she did tell us she will answer questions after the verification is complete. Until that time, we've been directed to city staff.
We should know the results of this latest petition by the 22nd of this month.
NewsChannel 11 asked city staff members why is Garza holding these meetings if she is not taking any questions? They tell us the meetings are more of a courtesy to the media, instead of just sending a paper release.
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