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Haines Assembly members face recall push

Posted: July 18, 2011 - 10:02pm  |  Updated: July 19, 2011 - 6:50am

A local citizens group on Friday filed applications for recall of Haines Borough Assembly members Daymond Hoffman, Steve Vick and Joanne Waterman.

The Haines Recall Committee officially filed the paperwork with the Alaska Public Offices Commission and the borough to initiate the recall effort. Resident Jim Shook is named as chairman.

Assembly members Jerry Lapp and Scott Rossman are exempt from recall efforts because, according to Alaska state statute, a recall petition cannot be filed against any official with fewer than 180 days before the end of their term. Lapp and Rossman’s assembly seats are up for election in October.

According to state statute, “Grounds for recall are misconduct in office, incompetence, or failure to perform prescribed duties.”

Shook said the recall effort addresses the recent controversy of Assembly Seat ‘E,’ vacated by Greg Goodman following a May Juneau Superior Court ruling that Goodman did not meet borough residency requirements.

Eleven people submitted letters of interest for an appointment to the open seat. At a meeting on June 13, the five remaining members of the Assembly could not agree on a candidate to reach the necessary four votes for an interim appointment that would have run until the October municipal election. Instead, the Assembly moved to fill the vacancy with an October special election. The move violated borough code that requires vacancies to be filled within 30 days. Vick was the only member that voted against filling the seat through an election.

Borough clerk Julie Cozzi determined Monday the application for recall is “sufficient” according to state law, local charter and borough code. She will now prepare petitions for the recall committee to use to gather signatures. If each petition gets 275 signatures or more, Hoffman, Vick and Waterman’s fate would be decided in the October election.

Shook said he reluctantly agreed to be named chairman for the recall committee, but emphasized the recall petition effort is the work of many in the community.

“This has nothing to do with politics, parties or philosophy,” Shook said. “I don’t enjoy this at all. But this is simply addressing the rule of law and the law was not followed. I ask the general public that if they believe in the rule of law, regardless of their party affiliation or philosophy, that they sign the petition.”

Vick said Monday he was curious why he was included in the recall effort when he was the lone Assembly member that did not violate code when he voted against having the seat filled in the October election.

“To me, it does sound a little bit political,” Vick said of the recall effort. “It’s a bit of a reach to try to recall me when I was the one trying to seat someone. It tears apart the town and distracts from the very important things we’re trying to do.”

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