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Interim Commerce City Clerk Out of Job After Recall Election Dispute With City Attorney

Recall campaign in Commerce becomes heated.

Recall campaign in Commerce becomes heated.

By Brian Hews and Brian Hews

A contentious recall campaign targeting four current Commerce City council members has apparently caused the Commerce Interim City Clerk her job.

Hews Media Group Community Newspapers has confirmed that that Interim City Clerk Theresa Jackson is out of a job this week after she clashed with powerful Commerce City Attorney Eddie Olivo over particular legal requirements required under California election laws.

HMG-CN has confirmed that Jackson and Olivo were at odds on how recall proponents published required legal notifications about the particulars of the recall of councilmembers Tina Baca Del Rio, Ivan Altamirano, Leila Leon, and Denise Robles.

The same situation occurred with the prior City Clerk who was with Commerce for over 20 years. Sources tell the Commerce Community News that she  was allegedly pushed out by Olivo, Baca Del Rio, Altamirano, and Leon right before the recall.

As required under state and county election laws, all public recall notices must appear in a “newspaper of general circulation.”

During the past several weeks, proponents backing the effort to oust Baca Del Rio, Altamirano, and Leon have paid Eastern Group Publications to advertise in a “newspaper of general circulation” the actual recall notices.

Recall organizer Jamie Valencia confirmed that he had met the legal requirements in having the notifications published as required by “the exact letter of the law.” The legal notices appeared during the past few weeks in EGP.

Sources tell HMG-CN that Olivo directly interceded in the process by advising Jackson that the newspaper did not “meet the legal requirements under the law” and therefore the recall effort should be invalidated.”

In a three-page legal answer, Olivo cited Government Code 6000-6008 and claimed that EGP was not a legally adjudicated newspaper in Commerce.

Jackson was not willing to talk about the specific circumstances surrounding her “employment status” with the City of Commerce in a phone interview conducted on Tuesday afternoon.

“I don’t have any comment on the matter,” Jackson said.

But Jackson did confirm that city officials are still in the process of reviewing if legal newspaper notices and other postings of recall petitions met county and state election laws.

“The process is still being reviewed,” Jackson said.

Pressed further about her employment status with the City, Jackson referred “all media questions to City Attorney Olivo.”

Olivo told HMG-CN that Jackson’s services were “no longer needed” and that “she will not be with the city of Commerce after this week.”  He said that Jackson worked under a specific contract that was to expire at the “end of November.”

HMG-CN has requested a copy of the employment agreement between Jackson and the City of Commerce from Olivo.

“She (Jackson) is under a contract that was ending at the end of the month (November) but her last day will be on Wednesday,” Olivo said.

Olivo would not go into details surrounding Jackson, and if the two had any type of disagreements surrounding the recall campaign.

“I will not get into the specifics about Ms. Jackson. There is a lot a stress over this recall campaign on many levels,” Olivo acknowledged.

“There is a requirement in the election code that a newspaper of general circulation must be used to advertise recall notifications,” Olivo told HMG-CN.

“The notices were posted in EGP and in my opinion that is not a legally adjudicated newspaper,” Olivo said.

In direct contrast to Olivo’s statement, the city “accepted” the legal notices of recall for Denise Robles that were filed with the same EGP paper.

Olivo would not comment further on the matter, and did not give any particular details regarding the status of the recall campaign being waged against Councilmember Robles.

Robles has been fierce rivals and out spoken critics of the Baca Del Rio, Altamirano, Leon, and Olivo.

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