A 2005 amendment to the state law pertaining to recall elections has lowered the bar for East Nashville residents attempting to force District 5 Metro Councilwoman Pam Murray out of office.
The last Metro Council recall effort took place during District 22 Councilman Eric Crafton’s first term. Crafton came under fire for his eventual support for a Wal-Mart development in Bellevue and citizens responded with a recall campaign.
But the state law at the time was interpreted to mean that a recall required signatures from 15 percent of the registered voters in all of Davidson County. A 2005 amendment to the code changed that. The amendment states that Metropolitan forms of government, like Nashville’s are exempted from the county-wide requirement. Counties with more than 100,000 residents are also exempted.
That means that East Nashville residents seeking to recall the embattled Murray only need about 980 signatures.
The leader of the group looking to recall Murray, District 5 resident and attorney Jamie Hollin, would not say how many signatures had been accumulated so far. The notice to recall Murray was filed on Aug. 14, giving the group until Sept. 14 to turn the necessary signatures.
Murray has been under fire for a variety of reasons, including the revelation that she lives a majority of the time in Detroit, where she works as a social worker for a methadone clinic. Murray was also involved in a confrontation with District 8 Councilwoman Karen Bennett following a community meeting earlier this year. Bennett called the police and claimed racial epithets were shouted at her by a group with Murray, although no charges were ever filed.
Murray also supported a controversial zone change request for a property on Cleveland Street. Neighbors adamantly opposed an attempt to bring an apartment complex to a property, which previously was a junkyard.
An ethics complaint was also filed with the state ethics commission, alleging Murray lied on her disclosure forms. Murray listed herself as self-employed, instead of working at the Detroit methadone clinic.
Murray has maintained that she lives most of the time in Nashville, but does travel for work.
She also claims she’s been harassed by residents seeking to recall her and she filed two harassment claims with Metro Police last week. One of the claims was against Mike Peden, who says he only called Murray twice at her Detroit office before she filed the police report. No charges, or orders of protection, were ever sought by Murray.