Gardner City Council recall, Gardner, Kansas, 2010

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John Shepherd and Mary Peters were recalled from their positions as city council members in Gardner, Kansas on March 2, 2010.[1]

Mayor Drovetta is now responsible for appointing two individuals to fill the vacancies created by the recall vote.

Mary Peters:[2]

  • Yes: 1,269 Approveda
  • No: 882

John Shepherd:

  • Yes: 1,245 Approveda
  • No: 904

The Gardner Recall Committee spearheaded the recall effort with the goal of removing the two council members based on allegations that they violated the Kansas Sunshine Law when they organized a special meeting to revise a city code. The sunshine law regulates conduct of elected officials in Kansas.

City Council member Steve Hale also supported the recall.[3] Gardner has 5 city council members altogether. Recall supporters wanted to recall Dan Thompson as well, but only two names are allowed on a city council recall ballot at the same time.[4]

The election was administered by Johnson County election officials.

Path to the ballot

On October 5, 2009, the Johnson County District Attorney’s office approved the petitions for the recall. The committee for the recall effort needed 396 signatures for Shepherd and 775 for Peters.[5]

On December 3, 2009 the Gardner Recall Committee submitted 750 signatures to recall Shepherd and 900 to recall Peters; more than enough signatures to force a recall election. The county election office had 30 days to verify the signatures.[6][7]

Petition revision

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The committee members submitted the petitions on August 19, 2009, but were left having to revise the petitions before the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office could approve it. According to the DA, the petition needed to have more facts detailing their allegations. In addition, the petition failed to provide signature spaces and appropriate supplemental affadivit filing. However, according to Election Commissioner Brian Newby: "It’s not uncommon for petitions to have to be revised."[8]

Lawsuit

Recall targets Peters and Shepard filed a lawsuit on November 2, 2009 to try to keep the recall vote off the ballot. The two council members stated that the petition is based on false allegations and does not meet all the requirements that is mandated by state law.

The two members' attorneys filed the suit in Johnson County District Court. In addition, Peters and Shepard wanted the court to issue a restraining order to stop the defendants from continuing the petition drive and requested an injunction that would stop any vote that could result from the recall.[9]

The court ruled against Peters and Shepherd, allowing the recall to go forward. A request for an emergency stay of the vote pending an appeal was denied in the week before the election. Those seeking to avoid the vote on March 2 are considering an appeal to the Kansas Supreme Court.[10]

See also

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Additional reading

References