No Grounds For Recall
By Dan Ortiz
May 12, 2007
In response to Mr. Fitzgerald's letter entitled "Recall,
It Is The Electoral Process", I submit that the author did
get some facts correct, but not all of them and that is where
the problem lies. It is also why the best thing to do for the
community as whole is to not support the recall.
I respect both Mr. Fitzgerald and Mr. Harpold. These gentleman
claim that they are supporting and protecting the political process,
but an objective look at the facts does not support that conclusion.
1. Both sides of the recall issue agree that the Board acted
with in their prescribed duties when they voted to remove the
Superintendent from his position. Obviously, it was a difficult
decision and a sizable amount of people disagreed with it. Not
unlike when the former Superintendent moved to demote Mr. Eklund
from his position as Principal at the high school and a majority
of the former board voted to back up that decision in a 4-3 vote.
That decision drew considerably more objections from the community
with public testimony coming from more people, than the recent
decision to remove the Superintendent. Yet the majority of
the board voted the way it did, disregarding the public outcry.
They were within their rights to do so, and no one moved to recall
the 4 members of the board. (Mr. Harpold included).
Although I strongly disagreed with the decision, a process was
followed. In the recent fall election, of the 3 board members
who ran for reelection the only one who got reelected, (and for
the 3rd time) was Choc Schafer, one of the 3 board members who
voted not to support the Superintendents motion to demote Mr.
Eklund. Perhaps the election results were at least a partial
reflection of public's displeasure around that decision, perhaps
not, but the point is that the proper process took place.
2. Where Mr. Fitzgerald and the committee working for the recall
get it wrong, is that the stated reason for the recall is that
the "board failed to perform their prescribed duties."
They allege that this failure came when "the termination
was carried out in bad faith, with critical information either
withheld or skewed" and they contend in their second attempt
with the Borough Clerk that this was done "intentionally."
(Both of these things would have to be true in order for there
to be grounds for recall, and remember when the Clerk accepted
the second petition, she was not saying these things did happen,
only that IF they did, they would be grounds for recall.)
An objective look at the facts shows neither is true. It was
reported before the meeting in the March 20th edition of the
Ketchikan Daily news in the article entitled "Members move
to oust Martin" that Board Member Choc Schafer, (a highly
respected CPA in the community,) estimated the cost to the district
at $90,837 and that she had budgeted for the most we (the district)
would have to spend. After the actual meeting where the board
voted on the issue, the Ketchikan Daily News reported the figure
to be $91,000. In fact the official budget modifications that
were done as recorded in the School Board Minutes of the April
11th meeting, amounted to 76,914. Thus the board members, specifically
Schafer and Eakes did in no way intentionally mislead the public
in order to minimize the financial costs to the district. It
just didn t happen.
3. What this whole dispute comes down to is that some people
didn t like the action taken by the board when they voted to
remove the Superintendent from his position. That fact is in
no way a legitimate reason for recall. The proper response for
any member of the recall committee or for any member of public,
who thinks they can do a better job than the current members
is to declare their candidacy for the Board at the normal election
time. That's the process.
Received May 11, 2007 - Published May 12, 2007
About: "36 year resident
of Ketchikan, 24 year teacher in the Ketchikan School District.
I have 3 children in the Ketchikan Public Schools."
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
It IS the Electoral Process! By Michael Fitzgerald - Ketchikan,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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