Mayor vs. manager vote delayed…again

Islanders will vote later rather than sooner on whether to replace the city’s mayor with a hired manager.

At the direction of the city attorney, petitioners seeking a vote to change the city’s form of government will wait until late next year to put their initiative on the ballot, said petition organizer Dennis Vogt.

Petitioners had initially targeted next month’s ballot for the initiative, but lower-than-expected support convinced them that a later date, possibly on the February ballot, would give them more time to gather signatures. Now the vote appears to have been pushed back an additional nine months, to November 2009.

Once the required 1,000 signatures were gathered last month, City Attorney Paul McMurray informed petitioners that state rules allow a vote on changing a city’s form of government only in November general elections during odd-numbered years.

“Our attorney now advises us that the mayor and the city attorney have changed (the) dynamic,” Vogt said in an e-mail. “They effectively took the election date choice away…”

McMurray could not be reached for comment.

Mayor Darlene Kordonowy said McMurray’s involvement has been limited to communicating state rules to petitioners, and that no steps have been taken to restrict or delay the vote.

“He’s just saying what the state law is,” Kordonowy said.

She cited a letter from the state Attorney General’s office corroborating the city’s position.

A ballot measure proposing that a “city change its plan of government may be voted upon at the next general election after the petitions are submitted, occurring on odd-numbered year,” wrote Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey T. Even in a June 10 letter.

Kordonowy stressed that she is not taking a position on the ballot measure.

“If the people want to change the form of government, I support what the people want to do,” she said.
“I don’t know how (Vogt) put me in this, saying I want to stop this from happening.”
In an effort to avoid a legal fight, Vogt said he will not challenge the city on the ballot dates.

“Any citizen who disagrees with the legal theory behind choosing the Nov (2009) date would have to go to court and take on the tax dollar-funded legal weight of the city and county,” he said.
Delaying the vote until November 2009 comes with a silver lining, Vogt said.

“It does give us time to turn our attention to an island-wide discussion around how well or poorly our city government has performed the past eight years,” he said. “November ’08 is consumed with national politics. February ’09 leaves us little time after the holidays are over. The November ’09 date allows us to have an serious, reflective and effective community conversation.”

Moving the measure to November 2009 also allows it to coincide with the next mayoral election, putting the option of eliminating the mayor alongside the candidates vying for the office.

“No matter what the result, this will certainly be an interesting and consequential year in the life of the island,” Vogt said.

One thought on “Mayor vs. manager vote delayed…again

  1. I say again: recall Mayor K. See search deceit deception recall Mayor K.

    Mayor K needs to be recalled. Rearranging the chairs on the USS Titanic is not the answer. The Council has been crimminally negligent in carrying out their dutes. DO NOT GIVE THIS COUNCIL control. Recall Mayor K and replace her with someone responsible and we may see our problems lessen.

    SEE THE YOUtube.

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