Judith Taylor recall, Rainier, Oregon (2013)
An effort to recall Councilwoman Judith Taylor in Rainier, Oregon from her position was launched in 2013 by Rainier Senior Center Board President Bill Dias. Dias and recall supporters argued that Taylor overstepped her responsibilities as the City Council's liaison to the senior center and of "conduct not becoming of a public servant." Specifically, Dias said that Taylor screamed in his face and verbally attacked staff.
The election is estimated to cost between $2,000 and $3,000.
Ballots were mailed to registered voters November 29 and must be returned by December 17. Voters recalled Taylor from her position by a margin of four votes.
Taylor was recalled, with 183 votes favoring recall and 179 opposed. The Rainier City Council began the search for Taylor's replacement in April 2014. The council had postponed the search due to an ongoing investigation by the Oregon Secretary of State's Office.
A disagreement between the city and the senior center board had been ongoing for at least a year. The senior center board disagreed with the city's oversight of the center.
At the time of the election, the center was a private, nonprofit organization. It leased its building from the city rent-free and the city paid for the building's water and sewer. It acquired the land through a $600,000 community development block grant. The nonprofit was required to give the city a copy of its operating budget every six months and its audit annually. They were also required to report any repairs and alterations.
According to news reports, Dias had not reviewed the lease agreement and was unaware of some of the obligations to the city.
Nevertheless, Dias argued that Taylor did not act as a liaison and overstepped her boundaries. Taylor disagreed and said that she fulfilled her duties as a liaison and would continue to work to bring attention to the financial problems.
In response to the recall, Taylor said, "My word and my integrity are important to me. I can’t think of anything more dear to my heart than the senior citizens in my community. If I did get recalled over this, at least I know in my heart I’ve done all I could."
Secretary of State investigation
In a November 26, 2013 complaint letter to the Oregon Secretary of State Taylor called the petition allegations "unsubstantiated" and "without merit." The state office investigated the complaint to determine if the petition violated state election laws. In January 2014, the Secretary of State's office closed its investigation, determining that there was insufficient evidence to support further action.
If a violation had been found, Dias could have been prosecuted under a Class C felony.
Path to the ballot
- See also: Laws governing recall in Oregon
A minimum of 110 petition signatures were required to trigger an election. A total of 113 valid signatures were submitted to Columbia County.
- TDN.com, "Bid to recall Rainier City Councilwoman Taylor will go to the voters," November 21, 2013
- TDN.com, "Rainier voters recall councilwoman Judith Taylor by four-vote margin," December 17, 2013
- The Daily News Online, "Rainier council to begin search for Taylor's replacement," April 1, 2014
- The Daily News Online, "Oregon closes probe of bid to recall Rainier councilwoman," January 8, 2014
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