The mayor of Midwest City is now facing a recall election. The city's firefighter and police unions have gathered enough signatures to force a vote.
Mayor Dee Collins, a former Midwest City police officer, was just elected mayor in February with the support of the firefighter's union. Now less than a year later, that same union, along with the Fraternal Order of Police is behind the effort to remove him from office.
“It concerns me personally some that they’ve chosen this route,” said Collins on Monday.
But union leadership has been battling the mayor and city manager over budget cuts for months. This all escalated from a dispute this summer between the firefighters union and the city, after the city council announced they were going close station 6 and leave five firefighter positions unfilled.
“We want a city manager and a mayor that will support the city services,” said Doug Deabot, with the International Association of Firefighters.
Although the council has since voted to keep fire station 6 open, they did take one truck out of service and will not fill five firefighter positions.
“You can make cuts, but in our line of work it’s impossible to do more than less,” said Deabot. “You’re putting the citizens at risk and putting us at risk.”
But Collins says the city saw a drop in sales tax revenue this year and had to make cuts. He says citizens will continue to see the same level of service. And this isn’t about public safety, but control.
“The stated intent of the labor union leadership is to take over the city council by getting the votes they need, by firing the city manager and hijacking the city budget,” said Collins.
The Midwest City City Council will officially set the date for vote on when that recall election at Tuesday night’s meeting.
According to the city clerk, if there is no need for a primary the election will likely be held February 9. There is already an election scheduled for that day, so the city won't have to pay for a special election.