Another Opinion: Recall efforts hijacking democracy in Lyon County
Fernley’s city government is being turned into a farce by a small group of dissatisfied residents who oppose several councilmen and the decisions they have made.
During the last legislative session, the Nevada Senate passed a bill to make it easier for constituents to gather signatures for a recall petition. Instead of needing names of 25 percent of registered voters who cast ballots in the last election, the new provision now allows petition gatherers to collect the names of 25 percent of registered voters in a district – or in Fernley’s case, a ward.
Consequently, small groups of disgruntled voters went to work, gathering names on their petitions to challenge candidates in several regions including Nye County and the city of Fernley.
This recall group in Fernley decided to challenge Ward 3 Councilman Monte Martin. According to the filed notice, Martin was being recalled for failing to provide oversight of the former treasurer; failing to make proper inquiries of the treasurer’s performance, failing to provide adequate oversight of the former city manager; relying on staff input on issues and not doing enough independent research on issues; and failing to respond to constituents’ concerns and complaints.
Robert Chase was one of the spearheads behind the recall campaign. Chase also ran against Martin in the recall election in early October and won with only 8.7 percent of the registered voters in Ward 3 casting ballots.
Recall a candidate and then win his seat with just 8.7 percent of the electorate voting. This is hardly a mandate from the people.
Now, Ward 4 Councilman Curt Chaffin faces a recall election this week, and his opponent, Susan Sidel, has been linked to Chaffin’s recall campaign. If the recall committee is so adamant about removing Chaffin, why didn’t they make a concerted effort during the November 2008 election in which Chaffin was re-elected by almost 60 percent of the vote?
What we see here is a small, dissatisfied group hell-bent on revenge, unnecessarily burning the public’s money.
It takes additional time to print ballots and copies, and employees must spend additional time preparing for a recall election instead of performing their day-to-day tasks. Furthermore, it costs taxpayers additional money when new councilmen have to be trained in various courses required by state law. Turnover is costly and the learning curve is time consuming.
It’s time for the majority of registered voters to slam their fists on the table and say “No more.”
What is being done by this recall committee is hijacking Fernley government to meet their own needs.
This bill passed by the state Senate will eventually be heard by the Nevada Supreme Court as to its legality. Until the court resolves this dilemma, Fernley residents must not let a small yet vocal group dictate to them who is or is not going to hold an office.
Voters must reject this recall effort, not only for city council but also for other offices and boards the group wants to challenge in Northern Lyon County.
We expect the votes of Fernley to do the right thing in moving forward, rather than backward in this process.