Hughson will get a recall

Hughson voters will be able to cast ballots to oust three city councilmen, but it's not clear when the recall election will take place.

Stanislaus County and Hughson officials Friday confirmed that enough voters submitted signatures on petitions to force a recall election against Councilmen Thom Crowder, Doug Humphreys and Ben Manley.

It's up to the council to decide when to implement that recall. The council is scheduled to meet Monday.

The three council members up for the recall were cited in a December Stanislaus County civil grand jury report that found they violated a state public meeting law and conspired to fire City Manager Joe Donabed.

"I'm very happy that it's going forward," said George Carr, who helped gather the recall signatures. "We've had a lot of people working very hard on this. I think this is going to be a good thing for the citizens of Hughson."

Crowder and Humphreys could not be reached, and Manley declined comment.

Carr's group -- Citizens for Better Government -- turned in about 1,000 signatures on each of the petitions calling for the ouster of the councilman.

County Clerk-Recorder Lee Lundrigan said her office counted 856, 848 and 847 valid signatures calling for the recall of Crowder, Humphreys and Manley, respectively.

That's well past the minimum the committee had to collect to initiate the recall. Twenty-five percent of Hughson's registered voters -- 753 valid signatures -- were needed to send the matter before the City Council.

There's not enough time to get the recall on the June ballot, interim Hughson City Clerk Annabelle Aguilar said. Instead, the recall could go before voters as a special election this summer.

Humphreys and Manley were elected in November 2008 and have more than two years remaining on their terms.

Crowder, who has been involved in city politics since the early 1990s, was appointed to the council to fill a vacancy in January 2009. His term expires in November.

Voters will be asked to vote on two matters: the recall of the three councilmen and who should take their places if they are removed. A successful recall requires 50 percent of the vote plus one.

The Hughson City Council meets at 7 p.m. Monday in the senior center, 2307 Fourth St.

Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at or 578-2337.