Mineral Wells Area News

Humble Tomlin Finally Speaks about Recall; Will Not Resign

Humble Tomlin Finally Speaks about Recall; Will Not Resign
October 31
11:26 2023

By Amy Bearden

Mineral Wells Area News

“The progress we are poised to see all hinges on water,” exclaimed Jerrel Tomlin who has been the target of an election recall after a water rate study indicated the City would need to increase water rates significantly to fund the future water needs of the community.

Ward 1 Councilman Jerrel Tomlin

A group of concerned citizens, led by resident Terri Glidewell, began the process of trying to recall City Council member Jerrel Tomlin of Ward 1 at the beginning of September.

They turned in a recall petition on October 9th, and after receiving the groups submission, City Clerk Sharon McFadden shared with Mineral Wells Area News that the groups recall submission was short of the required signatures and on October 10th shared the letter the City sent to Glidewell.

MWAN also reported the same day that the recall group was also in the process of consulting with the Secretary of State as well as the local Elections Administrator, questioning the correct number of signatures that were actually needed for the recall to be valid.

MWAN initially shared with the public the original findings that the recall had failed based on the information provided to us by the City.

Jerrel Tomlin spoke to reporters on October 30 and this link is a 23 minute edited video from the 35 minute conversation he had with reporters

Glidewell seen here with Christopher Perricone consulting with City Officials concerning the Recall Petition

Letter from the City dated October 9th to Terri Glidewell indicating the recall petition was invalid which was shared with MWAN on October 10th

After consulting with State Offlcials, the City determined the target number needed to force a recall election was lower than originally thought because “suspense” voters were not excluded from the totals given to the recall group.

Late in the evening of Wednesday, October 11th, apparently the City, according to Glidewell’s public comments on her social media posts, indicated the city walked back their statements to Glidewell, and let her know that the group’s petition did indeed have enough signatures needed to call a special election to potentially oust Tomlin.

When asked about the reverse decision by multiple media sources, mum was the word from the City.

“Information related to this topic is scheduled to be presented by the City Clerk to the City Council, per the City Charter, at its next meeting October 17th which is Tuesday October 17th at 6pm,” said City Manager Sullivan in an email to us dated Thursday October 12th.

Second Letter from the City dated October 11th to Terri Glidewell indicating the recall petition was certified, but not shared with MWAN correcting the error.

The City of Mineral Wells included the above notice in all of their customers water bills in October. Rate hikes begin In November.

During the October 17th City Council Meeting, Glidewell spoke during the public comment portion at the beginning of the meeting and discussed her disappointment of the difficult nature of the process and that they had to fight to get the real numbers they needed to succeed. It turns out they actually exceeded the number they needed.

At that meeting, Sharon McFadden went on to ratify the recall process, validated the petition and explained the timeline of how the procedure played out. The City failed in their presentation to mention their original findings given to the media and omitted the October 9th letter to Glidewell.

Unfortunately Glidewell’s group had the number of signatures needed but they were just short of their ultimate mark of removing him quickly, and here’s why.

State Election code, which trumps any City Charter, is specific about recall elections and they must be held during the general elections held in November and May.

Fortunately for Tomlin, the cut off date to order the recall election for this November was in September, and while there is plenty of time for the May 4th election, it seems a moot point.

If Tomlin was to lose the recall election, his term ends only 5 days after the canvassing of the votes, and the recall only applies to his current 2022-2024 term.

There is still a possibility that Tomlin will re-run for his seat for the 2024 term but he is still undecided at the moment. The recall election would be on the same ballot as the City Council election. Time will tell, but there was one thing for certain, Tomlin says he is is serving out his term and said no way to resigning.

Tomlin’s Journey to the Council

In 1997, Jerrel Tomlin, on what he says was a calling from God, moved his wife Melinda and their family to Mineral Wells to become the minister at the Church of God. He has remained in that role since then but in 2016, a vacancy on the City Council by Thomas Lively, who had to step down when he was hired by the City as a police officer, Tomlin decided to throw his name in the hat for the job.

Tomlin, along with five others applied for the position, but it was Tomlin who was appointed unanimously in November of 2016 by the City Council to finish out the remainder of Lively’s term in Ward 1. He campaigned and was later elected to the position in 2018 when he ran against Terri Glidewell, who he beat 143 votes to her 87. It’s Glidewell who would eventually lead an attempt to recall Tomlin’s seat in September of 2023.

Tomlin also ran unopposed in 2020 and again in 2022. He said he had no idea anyone was displeased with his performance until he heard musings of a recall of his seat. Tomlin decided to not speak to the issue until the recall process played out.

“I just wasn’t willing to say anything because I didn’t want what I said to be taken wrongly or rightly,” said Tomlin. “I felt like it was safest for me to just respect the process and after it played out, make a statement,” who has served under four mayors and three city managers.

Whether I stay or go, I’m planning on serving out the rest of this term. I’ve made no decision about 24. I will make that in the future,” Tomlin said. “I really don’t know where I am on that right now.”

Tomlin discussed the recall process with us and suggested, just as Mayor Regan Johnson mentioned at the October 17 Council meeting, the manner in which the group gathered signatures for the recall was questionable to some. Johnson said she spoke with people who signed the petition who thought in doing so, the water rates would not rise to the projected 60% increase.

“I think they were disingenuous in the way they went about it,” claimed Tomlin.

Longtime neighbors of Tomlin reached out after the recall and explained how the signature gatherers presented the recall to them as the group knocked on doors in his ward.

For more information regarding the Turkev Peak Reservoir, project click anywhere on this picture to open the website that tracks the entire process and offers answers to frequently asked questions and provides accountability for the $277 million revenue bond signed by the Mineral Wells City Council & the Palo Pinto Municiple Water District #1 for the the completion of the
Turkey Peak Resevoir and a water treatment facility plant to ensure the
the community has safe drinking water generations to come.

“They were asked two questions. Do you want your water rates to go up by a certain percentage and are you in favor of Turkey Peak,” explained Tomlin recalling his neighbors account of the door knockers’ tactics.

“I was never mentioned, and they had no idea that signing would put me in peril on the City Council,” claimed Tomlin. “I wasn’t there but I’m just telling you what some of my neighbors have said to me.”

Tomlin says he harbors no animosity towards the people who initiated or participated in the recall.

Elected officials tour the Hilltop Water Treatment Plant in December of 2022 to get an idea of how dilapidated the condition is of the 60-year-old failing plant that provides water for the surrounding communities. The Palo Pinto Municipal Water District #1 and the City of Mineral Wells provide water to more than 30,000 people in Parker and Palo Pinto County and it comes from Lake Palo Pinto and is treated at the Hilltop Plant

Tomlin says he’s ready to finish out his term and get some projects completed before the end of this term. He volunteered, along with Councilperson’s Kyle Kelly and Beth Watson to serve on a Mayoral Subcommittee to come up with affordability solutions for citizens in the community who will struggle with the increasing rates that are set to rise in November.

“That was a weighty decision,” lamented Tomlin of the recent $277 million revenue bonds Council approved to complete the construction of Turkey Peak Reservoir and repair and construct a dilapidated water treatment facility plant.

Seven years serving the City, Tomlin says he stills loves the job, and always returns phone calls and emails from his constituents, but people underestimate the amount of pressure or the weight of being 1 of 7 people that makes major decisions for a city.

The Hilltop Water Treatment Plant is more than 60 years old and Winter Storm Uri in 2021 exacerbated the already failing plant. The plant was designed to last 20-30 years and is on its last legs, even being cited by the TCEQ for being out of compliance.

“It was a hard decision but I think it was the right decision,” he said, “but we got a water problem. If we can get Turkey Peak Reservoir completed and filled, we have an opportunity to move forward with the growth and the productivity that is at our door.”

Tomlin said there are housing projects and development that have been just sitting and waiting pending some action regarding water supply for the area.

“The progress we are poised to see all hinges on water,” exclaimed Tomlin.

Tomlin spoke to reporters at his church on Monday October 30 and remains undecided if he will run again for his seat at the May 4th election. Should the recall election be ordered and successful, which would only remove Tomlin from Council for less than a week, and if Tomlin decides to rerun, there will be two places to vote for or against Tomlin on the May 4th ballot.

HD60 State Representative Glenn Rogers, seen third from the left, hosted a tour of the water plant in December 2021 so area water decision makers could see the crisis his district faces. He even authored legislation to establish a Regional Water Authority that would allow for more funding possibilities but the Bill failed to pass before the session ended. He continues to educate leaders on finding solutions to our water infrastructure problems.

Tomlin ended his time with the press by saying he gets frustrated with the divisive tactics, explaining he lives on a ministers salary. “Middle class is all I know. I think I’m probably lower middle class. I’m just trying to make a living and do life just life everyone else,” said Tomlin.

“I keep hearing us and them statements. It’s not us and and them. We were elected out of them. It’s we. We are all in this together and we will all have shared sacrifice,” Tomlin said. “Did anyone on the council want our water rates to go up like this? No, no no. I still feel like it’s the right decision,” said Tomlin.

Editorial Observations Worth Noting:

Mineral Wells Area News reached out to many of the names who signed the recall petition and asked about their experience in the process and if they understood what the recall was about and if they were aware of what they were signing.

One of those signatures on the recall was from a prominent business owner in town, but didn’t want their name mentioned. They said their family had no idea what the recall was actually for, but didn’t want an expensive water bill, so they signed it.

“We were told to sign if we wanted to keep our water bills from going up,” they said.

A phone call to another petition signer was basically the same conversation. “We thought it was about water rates remaining low and we needed to sign it to keep them low and to get the man out in charge of making the rates go up so much,” she said. After 7 calls to petitioners, only one seemed knowledgeable that the petition was about removing Tomlin from office.

“I heard there was no way of stopping it(water rate hike) but it was to at least get some better council members in place, and that would be great,” responded the recall signee.

MWAN is in the process of looking for Ring Camera Footage or Security Footage that allegedly shows interactions between residents on their doorsteps and those seeking signatures for the recall. At the end of the day, people are responsible for their own signature and should be aware of what they are attaching their names too.

Terri Glidewell has said her group does not intend intend to stop with Tomlin’s recall and will go after everyone on the Council. Tomlin said he expects the group to start back their recall efforts for the next target in November, but thinks they will have a difficult time obtaining the necessary signatures if they go after Ward 3 because of the volume of voters in that area.

He says low voter turnout in his ward is a likely reason he was an initial target. Time will tell where the groups efforts will be focused next. The May 4th Election will include a ballot for a councilperson in Ward 1, Ward 3 and for Mayor. Anyone wishing to file for any of these positions must do so before February 16th, 2024 with the City Clerk.

Mineral Wells Area News is aware this recall process has been quite an undertaking and many lessons have been learned on both sides of the situation. Should Glidewell’s group begin the recall process for another elected official, you will likely see the petition in not only English but Spanish as well. The demographic makeup of the community is heavily Hispanic and State requirements say the petition must be presented in both languages as well.

Amy Bearden

Amy Bearden is the Publisher/Editor of Mineral Wells Area News and loves celebrating her favorite town by telling the stories of the people in the community. Amy has a passion for local sports, news and business development. She spent 10 years marketing a professional sports team and is now focused on growing the cultural wellness and creative arts space throughout the area. Amy has four kids, two dogs and a garden she cherishes, along with her yoga mat.


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