More than 300 people have signed an online petition to remove Suzy Davis, 65, of High Ridge from her seat on the Jefferson County Health Department Board of Trustees.
However, Davis, who has been vocal about her stance against a mandatory face mask order to stem the spread of COVID-19, likely will keep her seat.
Jeannie Goff, chief of staff for the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office, said she believes a Health Department board member may not be removed by petition.
“Once they are in, they are in until they are voted out,” Goff said.
She said the only thing the County Clerk’s office will do if the petition is sent to them is check if the people who signed it are registered voters.
Davis said she has “no ill feelings” about the petition calling for her removal or negative comments made about her online.
“I understand how people will have their view, and because of their view, it causes them to say certain things, and I understand that, so I don't have any ill feelings about any of it,” she said.
Davis said she believes the petition started because she is against a mask mandate.
“It's not just me; I'm just one of many and I'm representing the people who elected me,” she said.
Davis said she believes the county has not had enough hospitalizations and “severe” cases to warrant a mandatory mask order.
“In spite of the positive cases we're seeing, it's still not equating to serious enough cases that people were worried about the hospitalizations and people in ICU,” she said.
One of the main organizers of the petition drive to “Recall Suzy Davis” is Marc Williams, 20, of Hillsboro, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Health Department board in June.
“I'm not running this recall out of spite or anything like that,” he said. “We (Jefferson County voters) recently elected Suzy Davis to represent us on a health board, and we believe that is not the right decision.
“We want to remove her because, let’s just say, her scientific beliefs are not accepted by the scientific community.”
Williams said one of his goals with the petition is to raise awareness of what he calls Davis’ “absurdity.”
“She goes to the extreme and pushes conspiracy theories and promotes false scientific data to try to push her own agenda,” he said.
Williams said he and other organizers of the petition have spoken with County Clerk Ken Waller about how to recall Davis and were told there probably is no way to do so. However, Williams said the group is looking into other possibilities.
“We are currently talking with a lawyer right now,” he said.
Williams said the petition effort is bipartisan.
“I know some people are trying to frame it as we are the Democrats and or are liberals trying to get Suzy out because we don't like her because she's a Republican. Well, that's not true,” he said.
Dennis Diehl, the Health Department Board of Trustees chairperson, issued a written statement Monday (July 27) accusing Davis of spreading false information. Diehl also said he wanted to “set the record straight.”
“Ms. Suzy Davis, a newly elected Board Member, has made numerous false or misleading statements on Facebook and other media,” Diehl said in the statement. “Since her election, she has persistently led what I can only describe as an effort to assassinate the character of the JCHD Director (Kelley Vollmar) and of the Department itself.
“She posted a statement that the Director is ‘asking for mandatory masks with criminal penalties and fines’ when this is part of a model policy that is one of many options the Board asked to see for consideration.”
Davis said she has not shared false information and has data and emails to back up statements she has made.
“I am not making this up,” she said.
Davis also said she has not attacked Vollmar.
“I am not personally trying to attack Kelley in any way,” she said. “I think she is doing a great job.”
Diehl also addressed claims Davis reportedly made about the board rescheduling its July 23 regular meeting to 3 p.m. July 21.
“The meeting date was changed to allow a quorum to be present, which is required to do business,” he wrote. “The meeting could be viewed on Facebook Live so that interested people could watch from the safety of their home and could post comments. Citizens in attendance were given the opportunity to make oral or written comments. The meeting was totally transparent for anyone wanting to view it.
“Ms. Davis told people to attend the meeting at 2 p.m., so they waited in the heat and thought the meeting started late. She also told people there would be a vote on a mask mandate. That was not on the agenda, which is why the meeting was held at the normal location because a large crowd was not originally expected. People thought the meeting date, time and place were chosen to discourage attendance, none of which is true.”
Diehl said candidates who will appear on the August ballot, including Davis who is running for a Republican committeeperson seat, used the meeting as a campaign event.
Update as of July 30: The petition has now drawn 464 signatures.