The threat of a recall for three council members is effectively no more.
Duanne Small, who spearheaded the city recall committee, said today his group no longer plans to file a lawsuit against the city for rejecting their three recall petitions in August. The city rejected the petitions on the grounds that officials did not have adequate time to count the signatures for a recall question to be placed on the November ballot.
The committee had planned to file a lawsuit against the city, they said last week. But upon learning of a suit’s possible cost to the taxpayer, they decided not to pursue it.
“We don’t want this to cost the city any money, because that’s one of the issues we’re fighting right now — too much money being spent,” Small [pictured above] said today. “We don’t want to put that burden on the taxpayer.”
Committee members are unsure of what their next step will be, Small said. They plan to meet and discuss it soon.
The recall committee collected signatures on three petitions to recall Mayor Ed Johnson, Deputy Mayor John G. Loffredo and Councilwoman Sue Henderson. They were unable to garner enough signatures to recall Councilmen Kevin Sanders and James Bruno. They started the process in June after city clerk Steve Kay approved their petitions.
The committee handed in the three petitions with about 2,644 signatures each. For a recall question to be placed on the November ballot, Kay needed to verify that 1,865 registered voters — 25 percent of the city’s electorate at the last election — had signed each petition.
But Kay rejected the petitions on the grounds that he only had two days to count almost 8,000 signatures. Meanwhile, recall proponents said they had never received a deadline from the city. The day before the petitions were handed in, officials said the deadline was hazy because of the state statute governing municipal government recalls.
Recall proponents stated in each of the three petitions that the recall would take place at the November election. Therefore, new petitions would need to be filed to hold the recall at a special election, Kay said. A special election could cost taxpayers $22,000, he said.
Yesterday, Sept. 4, was the deadline for potential recall candidates to hand in petitions with 75 signatures each. Henderson, Loffredo, John Moor, Remond Palmer, Talisha Crank, Daniel Harris and Calvin Anderson gave petitions to Kay.
The current city council members’ terms expire next June. City council elections will be held in May 2013.