GUADALUPE, AZ - A date has been set for a recall election in Guadalupe, when voters will decide whether they want to oust their mayor.
Mayor Rebecca Jimenez will be forced from office if voters elect someone else in the recall election, set for March 8 of next year. No one has filed to run against her, the town clerk said. The deadline for filing is December 9.
The fall recall effort came after Jimenez accepted a plea deal to avoid felony charges including welfare fraud.
The state alleged she did not disclose that her children's father was living with her, a disclosure which would have disqualified her from receiving food stamps because of his income.
She has repeatedly declined to answer questions from ABC15.
At Thursday night's meeting, she held a piece of paper in front of her face for much of the meeting, seemingly trying to avoid being visible to a television camera lens.
ABC15 unsuccessfully tried to speak with Jimenez after the meeting.
A written response from Jimenez will be available to voters in the recall election.
"Guadalupe, it has been an honor to serve our community as your Mayor, since you elected me in 2013. I have worked hard and tirelessly for all the good people of Guadalupe. I ran for council because I knew then like I know now that I am the type of leader that can work and achieve the type of change OUR town needs to move forward. Unfortunately this recall was initiated by a council member that I have held accountable, he has broken the law and jeopardizes the town by starting construction projects illegally, and by creating an illegal travel trailer park at [redacted by ABC 15] where he lives. Since being elected by you I have brought in a new Judge that ended debtors' prison, created a Teen Court and ended court corruption. I negotiated for months to bring a Recycling program to OUR town. I negotiated to have two amendments added to the MCSO contract that would make it mandatory for them to have cultural training on our town and people. I brought back the Christmas TOY giveaway When I took office the budget was negative and now there is over $900,000 surplus. Please VOTE for Rebecca Jimenez"
Vice Mayor Andrew Sanchez believes Jimenez was referencing him in her statement about a travel trailer park. Sanchez said he is living in camper on his property while he builds a home on that property.