CONRAD – An official petition to recall Pondera County Sheriff Carl Suta reached the number of signatures needed.
Petitioners had 90 days to get at least 530 signatures or 15 percent of eligible voters in the county. According to petitioner Stacy Welker, the petition has gathered just over 550 signatures so far.
The petition was given to the Clerk and Recorder’s Office for final approval on Thursday. The Office has 30 days to approve the signatures.
Pondera County residents filed the petition to recall Sheriff Suta in July.
The petition’s accompanying statement alleged several instances of Sheriff Suta being incompetent.
Sheriff Suta said the accusations that accompany the petition are false and that he can prove it.
The allegations included abuse of power, sharing private information, not holding youth accountable, dishonesty and leaving the county under-protected.
Welker said the petition has been a difficult topic for the community. She even sent her children away for the summer due to break-ins, vandalism and verbal threats.
Welker believes filing the petition was necessary and said she was relieved by the amount of support she received from county residents.
“It’s been good and people were very brave. I mean a lot of people were very brave and I just want to give them credit too,” she said.
Sheriff Suta replied to MTN in a written statement:
“I feel confident the voters will support me from my personal interactions and discussions I have had with them. The voters in this county are good honest people. I am truly blessed to live here. I’m very thankful for everyone who showed me support in this hard time of my life.The ones that signed the petition are the ones I need to focus on and do a better job for. I am truly here to serve everyone in this county in a fair and honest manner.”
If the signatures are verified, Sheriff Suta will have five days to resign. But if Sheriff Suta does not hand in his resignation within the five days, the county will hold a recall election.
Sheriff Suta would have the opportunity to write a rebuttal, which would be printed on the ballots. Pondera County voters would then vote on whether or not to recall him.