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Fall River Board of Elections member recuses herself from recall petition hearings

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A member of the Fall River Board of Elections has recused herself leading to a non-binding meeting Thursday evening in the Council Chambers.

Chair Kelly Sousa-Young, who was appointed by Mayor Correia, has recused herself due to the possible public perception of her proceeding in the process. The meeting still took place as a discussion between the Board and the respective attorneys for the Mayor and the recall group.

Paul Machado, who is representing the recall petitioners, expressed his concern that because of Young’s recusal, that a quorum will not be able to take place with two democrats and two republicans. Machado is looking for a fair, but expeditated process in fairness to his client.

William Golden, who is representing Mayor Correia, stated that the recall signatures should have never been certified and that the City Councilors vote on Tuesday evening should have never taken place due to Mayor Correia’s objection to the petitions/signatures. This would also mean the 5 days to resign should have never begun according to Golden. Golden also stated that steps in the process were not done correctly and in the proper order and the City Charter was not being followed.

The Board of Elections hearing is supposed to occur within 14 days from the objection, but all sides were in agreement that the time frame would be difficult, if not impossible to meet which will most likely lead to an agreeable extension.

Board member Daryl Gonyon stated that it did appear that the process was not totally followed properly, but the Commission was going by precedent and guidance from the State of Massachusetts.

It is possible after Christmas that Corporation Counsel Macy, Machado, and Golden will get together to iron out issues and to expedite the process and come up with a procedure going forward.

The Board is going to attempt to resolve the issues involved, but it is sounding more likely that the matter is headed to court as a proper hearing may not be able to be held and in the proper time frame.

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