By Kelly O'Keefe
MAYVILLE, North Dakota: The first recall election of 2013 is on the books. Mike Carr and Larry O'Brien, city councilors in Mayville, will face a recall election on January 16, 2013. Local citizens began circulating recall petitions after both Carr and O'Brien voted to eliminate the position of city public works director Byron Kleven. Kleven was drawing a salary of just over $50,000. His duties will be taken over by the city auditor. Mayville has a population of 2,000. Recall target Carr defends his vote to eliminate the position, saying, "It became more of an administrative position when it was designed to be more of a working position...I really don't feel there is a need for it in a city that size. Something bigger, maybe 10,000 people or higher, would need a position like that.”
Candidates wishing to challenge the incumbent city councilors have until November 19 to file nominating petitions. In 2012, two recall elections took place in North Dakota. In Valley City, Bob Werkhoven was retained as mayor, while council member Ken Evenson was recalled. In Bottineau, former mayor Douglas Marsden was recalled from office.
By Kelly O'Keefe
QUILCENE, Washington: Fire commissioners Dave Ward and Mike Whittaker are used to fighting fires, but over the past 16 months, they've had to fight a recall effort aimed at removing the pair from office. On November 13, the duo will face voters in a recall election in Jefferson County The recall effort was launched in June 2011 after local citizens accused Ward and Whittaker of falsifying commissioner meeting minutes and violating the Open Public Meetings Act. According to the accusations, Ward directed a secretary to falsify meeting minutes to make it appear as if the fire board had authorized the district's participation in a Public Employees' Retirement system. Whittaker approved the minutes, despite knowing that they inaccurately reflected what had actually happened at the meeting. Ward and Whittaker also came under fire for their creation of a chief operating officer job for the fire district and the hiring of Ward for that position.
In accordance with the laws governing recall in Washington, a judge had to verify that the charges against the recall targets were sufficient to warrant a recall effort. Judge Anna Laurie approved one of the five charges against Ward and Whittaker. In August of this year, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that a possible violation of the Open Public Meetings Act represented sufficient cause for a recall effort. Sufficient recall signatures were submitted in September, and the single-issue, all mail-in recall election was scheduled for November 13, 2012.
After the court's ruling, Shane Seaman, the lawyer for Ward and Whittaker, filed a motion for reconsideration of the Supreme Court's ruling. Seaman also filed a motion to postpone the mailing of election ballots until the Supreme Court decided whether it would reconsider the case. The motion for reconsideration was denied, and ballots were mailed as scheduled.