SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Recall - It IS the Electoral Process!
By Michael Fitzgerald


May 09, 2007
Wednesday PM

Choc Schafer and Karen Eakes are the subjects of a recall petition currently being circulated to Ketchikan voters. These ladies publicly plead with the voters: "Please do not invalidate the electoral process"! What they must surely know, but have chosen to ignore (and certainly don't want you to realize), is the fact that a recall election is by definition part of the electoral process. The sponsors of the current petition will successfully submit the required number of valid signatures and a special election will then be scheduled to allow the voters to decide if Choc Schafer and Karen Eakes should be recalled. If this is not a valid "electoral process", I don't know what is. I maintain that giving the voters the opportunity to weigh-in on this issue-regardless of the outcome of the recall election-will serve to validate the electoral process. Indeed, seeing this through to its conclusion-again, whatever the outcome-is the only way to restore credibility to the School Board.

The credibility of the School Board has suffered due to the manner in which they carried out the termination of Superintendent Martin's employment contract "for convenience". Schaffer and Eakes have publicly proclaimed that "a school board hires, gives direction to, monitors the progress of, and, if determined in the best interest of students and the school district, terminates the employment of the superintendent", and they are right-this is in fact, as they assert, "one of the most critical responsibilities of a school board".

What they have failed to understand is that the grounds for recall do not address whether or not the School Board can fire a Superintendent (they can), or even if they SHOULD have fired the Superintendent. The credibility gap and the grounds for a recall petition arise from the fact that the termination was carried out in bad faith, with critical information either withheld or skewed to serve the purposes of those School Board members intent on firing the Superintendent.

As sponsors of the motion to fire Superintendent Martin, Schafer and Eakes did not take the opportunity to have the School District's Financial Manager prepare and present a cost analysis for the proposed action. Likewise, they did not seek input from any District Staff regarding the impacts (either pro or con) of terminating Superintendent Martin. Neither did they ask Staff to develop contingency plans for the aftermath of their decision. In the place of information from the recognized experts, they provided instead their "best guess". A further opportunity to seek this information from the experts was offered and discussed at the School Board meeting of March 28, 2007 (thanks to Russell Thomas) but was summarily rejected. Why? The process for gathering such information when considering weighty matters and making difficult decisions is both recommended and clearly outlined in District Policy. Failing to follow through on this crucial step calls into question the validity and credibility of the entire process.

I do not personally know Choc Schafer or Karen Eakes. I have heard nothing but good about them. Certainly they both have a long track record of valued service to this community. A recall petition and election does not invalidate their good works-it simply serves to restore credibility to the School Board and the processes they use when dealing with the Superintendent.

If you agree that Superintendent Martin was fired in bad faith, please consider signing the Recall Petition available at the following businesses:

  • Image North
  • Get Fit, Stay Fit Gym

Or from the following sponsors:

  • Henry Keene, JR.
  • Norman Arriola
  • Michael Fitzgerald
  • Kathy Fitzgerald
  • Gerald Hughes
  • Tamera Reed
  • Michael Lyshol
  • Lupe Thompson
  • Deborah Harney
  • Susan Pickrell
  • Gillian Milne
  • Shirley Walters
  • Robert Pickrell
  • Arlene Pickrell
  • Thomas Bellanich
  • Jennifer Elliot
  • Caryn Homan
  • Karen Owings

Michael Fitzgerald

Received May 09, 2007 - Published May 09, 2007

About: "12 year resident and concerned parent who is convinced that Ketchikan is (still) the greatest place to raise a kid."


Related Viewpoint:

letter Please do not invalidate the electoral process By Choc Schafer & Karen Eakes - Ketchikan, AK



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Ketchikan, Alaska