On the morning of June 28, Clark County Councilor Tom Mielke filed three recall petitions against three of the members of the Clark County Council — Julie Olson, Jeanne Stewart and Chair Marc Boldt.
The three letters, which are basically identical for all three councilors, are each 10 pages long and describes concerns over the hiring of an investigator to look into allegations against Councilor David Madore, the three councilors allowing County Manager Mark McCauley to dissolve the Environmental Services Department, the council’s’ decision to to award the contract for legal advertising to The Columbian and limited access to lawyers.
In Boldt’s letter, which is similar to the ones filed by Mielke against Olson and Stewart, Mielke accuses Boldt of committing “acts of malfeasance, misfeasance and has violated his oath of office while serving as a councilor.”
Mielke’s letters claim that the three councilors knowingly violated the law by violating the Open Public Meetings Act in order to have Clark County hire an outside investigator to undertake an investigation of Madore; states that the councilors “illegally orchestrated the assignment of the paper-of-record contract to The Columbian;” and claims that three councilors prevented Madore and Mielke from utilizing the legal expertise of the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Lastly, Mielke claims in his letters that the three councilors committed misfeasance, malfeasance and violated the oath of office by permitting McCauley to dissolve a department of the county.
Boldt said he was not worried about Mielke’s complaint, and said he wasn’t quite sure how the whole process will work for Mielke.
“Since Tom is basically on the other side, I’m not sure how that works with our prosecuting attorney,” Boldt said.
Olson also said she wasn’t concerned about Mielke’s accusations, saying that he has the right to file the recall petition and may “any baseless accusations he wishes.” However, she said there is a high legal standard that must be met and they will see if the petition comes anywhere close to meeting that legal standard.
“Frankly, the community is tired of this kind of vindictive political behavior targeted at those who disagree,” Olson said. “This is a distraction, another waste of taxpayer money, time and resources thanks to the actions of Tom Mielke and David Madore. It was transparently political in purpose and timing.”
Mielke’s letters detail each of his accusations, including allegations made by Madore that that Community Planning Director Oliver Orjiako and county legal staff lied about details of the Comprehensive Growth Management Plan update.
As far as the next step in the recall process goes, the county prosecutor has 15 days after receiving a charge to write a ballot synopsis. The charge and ballot synopsis are then sent along to Superior Court. A judge will then consider whether the charges, if true, amount to misfeasance, malfeasance or a violation of the elected official’s oath of office within 15 days.
Misfeasance means performing a duty in an improper manner. Malfeasance is the commission of an unlawful act. Violating the oath of office means neglecting or knowingly failed to perform their duties. Any of the three or a combination could prompt a judge to find the petition valid.
Olson, Boldt and Stewart may appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. If the case is upheld, the next stage is the petition process. According to state election laws, petitioners would have to collect a number of signatures equal to 25 percent of the total number of votes cast in the last election for that office.
Petitioners would need to collect 20,639 signatures for a recall of Boldt, 6,097 for a recall of Olson, as she was elected by district, and 29,901 for a recall of Stewart. A validated petition would trigger a special recall election.
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