ST. FRANCIS -- St. Francis Mayor CoryAnn St. Marie-Carls' alleged behavior at City Hall prompted a recall election Tuesday, March 13.
Challenger Ken Tutaj, a city alderman, accused the mayor of creating a hostile work environment by screaming and swearing. St. Marie-Carls was fighting to keep her job and said the recall was based on "falsehoods."
About 1,200 people signed recall petitions, which is nearly one-fourth of the 5,032 registered voters in St. Francis. Ahead of the election, yard signs for St. Marie-Carls and Tutaj littered the city reminding people to vote Tuesday.
"This is not hearsay," Tutaj said. "I came in to pay my sewer bill. I could hear in the back -- I don't know exactly who she was yelling at -- but the f-bomb, 'I'm the mayor. I'll do whatever I want. You need to start listening to me."
St. Marie-Carls said Tutaj was attempting to discredit her work over six years as mayor.
"The petitioners -- I can't control what they say, and they were saying a lot of put-downs and discrediting things about me," St. Marie-Carls said.
She denied accusations that she had been rude and unprofessional. She said recall organizers did not understand what it takes to be a mayor.
"Mayors don't work for the City Council. They work for the people, so advocacy and passion are part of what we do," said St. Marie-Carls.
St. Marie-Carls said she had several accomplishments as mayor. She cited improvements to city parks, the FBI locating its Milwaukee office in St. Francis, and her business-friendly approach.
Tutaj said the Common Council also worked to attract the FBI to its office on Lake Michigan. He acknowledged that the mayor's work has benefited the parks but said it didn't justify her being a "bully."
"The biggest thing I can say, the things the mayor does good, she does very good. The things she does bad, she does extremely bad," Tutaj said.
The Common Council and St. Marie-Carls have often not seen eye-to-eye. The council held a vote of no confidence in St. Marie-Carls before the current recall process began.