We have no idea whether Ventnor Mayor Michael Bagnell is a good mayor, a bad mayor or a mediocre mayor.

But we know this: Generally, recall movements to remove an elected official in the middle of his or her term are bad ideas. And so far, anyway, the people behind a movement to recall Bagnell have not come close to proving - or even suggesting - the kind of wrongdoing that would warrant such a divisive step.

Officials such as Bagnell can be "recalled" every four years - in a regularly scheduled election. Four years isn't long. By then, the people of Ventnor will have a firmer idea if Bagnell, who was elected in May 2012, is a good, bad or mediocre mayor and can vote accordingly.

But the people behind We Love Ventnor, the group circulating a petition to get support for a recall election, seem to have jumped on an unfortunate trend in national politics - the idea that elections are never really over.

To get a recall election, the group must submit a petition containing the signatures of 25 percent of Ventnor's registered voters, or about 2,000 people. The city clerk must then certify the signatures, and then an election must be scheduled. The process doesn't go quickly. And if the petition is certified, Bagnell and an opponent will then battle it out in a campaign leading up to the recall vote.

Recalls are divisive. They are time-consuming. They stunt progress and growth in a community. They mire a town in political wheel-spinning and make accomplishing anything real and substantive more difficult than it has to be.

Regular political campaigns do the same thing. But that's why it's generally beneficial to hold elections at regularly scheduled intervals. In the meantime, presumably, some real work can get done between campaigns.

Sure, if an elected official has committed a criminal act or failed in some spectacular way and is refusing to step down, a recall can be necessary. But the complaints against Bagnell don't come close to that level. His critics object to some of his hirings as cronyism, including the selections of a new city solicitor and engineer. They object to some of the decisions he made during and after Hurricane Sandy.

Again, we have no interest in defending Bagnell. But why not give him and his appointees a chance to prove whether they are up to the job? It's only been a little more than a year since Bagnell took over. Give him and his people a chance to show what they can do - and if they fail, throw the bums out in the next election.

Sure, recall proponents have a right to do what they are doing. But exercising that right at this point isn't doing anything to move Ventnor forward.


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