July 1, 2008

Petition drive organizers trying to make sure it's done right

As organizers who are hoping to force a referendum on the chief operating officer proposal increase their efforts to make sure petition gatherers are following proper procedures, the city attorney is lending a hand.
Dale Clift, the city attorney, issued a formal opinion that says those gathering signatures have the full 45 days to turn in petitions.
He said in the decision that “at first reading” of the relevant state law “it appears that both the submission and the certification” of the signatures “must occur within the 45 day period However after consideration of the legal effects of this interpretation, I have concluded that the entire 45-day period should be available.”
That helps give the organizers time to scrape together than 3,100 or so signatures they need.
Organizers had worried they had to turn in the petitions as much as 10 days early in order to have them certified within the 45-day period.
City Councilor Ken Cockayne, one of those pushing the referendum, said he is "very happy at the thoroughness" and speed with which Clift issued a ruling on the matter. He is also content with the decision.Councilor Craig Minor, who is heading up the referendum drive with Cockayne, said that supporters are gathering signatures quickly. He said he anticipates that the petitions will be turned in early.
Minor and other organizers are tracking down reports that some petitions may have been left unattended at businesses, a move that would make it impossible for anyone to verify that they had personally witnessed each signature.
Any petitions that were done improperly won’t be submitted, organizers said.
The Charter Revision Commission, which recently completed its work, recommended the city create a chief operating officer post to handle administrative oversight and provide long-term planning.Supporters of the position said it would bring greater efficiency to City Hall and save taxpayers money in the long run.But Mayor Art Ward and four of the six city councilors rejected the idea. They said it wouldn’t help or it would cost too much money.If the council had approved it, the public would have the final say on the proposed charter change. It would have been on the November 4 ballot.If the petition drive succeeds, voters will still get the chance to have the last word.

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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who is monitoring the proces to assure that it is done right?

Have heard that petitions are left unattended.

I have not seen any petitions, nor have I been asked to sign one so I don't know what is happening.

Hopefully it is being done legally.

Anonymous said...

Each petition is numbered and an inventory is being kept of who was issued which petition. Everyone was told very clearly that they must keep it in their possession at all times. There is a place at the bottom of the petition where the person promises, under penalty of law, that he personally witnessed every signature. If that person is willing to perjure himself, there isn't much anyone can do about that.

Anonymous said...

If that person is willing to perjure himself, there isn't much anyone can do about that.

The City Clerk can legally refuse to accept any petition that she believes was left unattended. She can also involve the police in an investigtion regarding any person that swears they witnessed every signature if she has even so much as a slight doubt.

The police were involved it the mall petition problem when people were leaving the petitions at businesses and hot dog stands.

Anonymous said...

That was the case last time and you know what happened.

Anonymous said...

Therese Pac, the City Clerk is a professional.She does not get involved politically. She will not interfere without good reason.

If you feel somethingis wrong, go to her with substantive information, not just rumor or speculation.

Bristol does not need its name besmirched any more.

Anonymous said...

Better watch out for those coffee stains on page 7 too .


Like I said .... Unions don't want it and the petition MUST be approved by a UNION member .

Too bad .... so sad ... better luck w/ the next petition .

Anonymous said...

? - the way to be sure that it is done right is to not do the petition at all.

Anonymous said...

Who, may I ask, is that Union member?

Anonymous said...

Saw a petition at the cash register yesterday....

If it's there today I will pick it up and mail it to Therese Pac.

Anonymous said...

I saw one of the petitions at a local downtown business last week. The lady in front of me in line also saw it and stated to her friend "Oh, this must be the thing we are supposed to sign if we want to save money on taxes by getting rid of the Mayor". She and her friend then proceeded to sign the petition. No one was tending to the petition to wtiness the signatures, to verify that they were registered voters or to explain what they were signing or what the issue was. This petition drive is the most rediculous unsupervised example of government gone wild that I have ever seen. Some individuals do not have a clue what they are signing or why.

Anonymous said...

There was one left at the Super Natural. If someone signs it as Mickey Mouse or something rediculous like that then Therese Pac will know for sure that it isn't a valid petition.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the mayor enforce the laws???

Why does he not have this issue checked into?

Anonymous said...

Gonna get ugly!

Anonymous said...

? - 6:24 - unattended petitions are the result of, supposedly, responsible politicians such as cockayne, minor and johnson not doing what they are supposed to be doing = paying atttention to the laws for petitioning.
"why doesn't the mayor enforce the laws?" - because he isn't "the Political Police" stupid!

Anonymous said...

The referendum, while politically driven, is government controlled.
Art is part of the government and should be enforcing ALL laws, but he wants it both ways.

Anonymous said...

~ Get over it 7:25, I kinda think the mayor has more important things to do than play "petition policeman." The petition organizers are the ones who should be solely responsible for making sure that THEIR petition is done according to the letter of the law.

Anonymous said...

sorry to disappoint you but if you weren't so blinded by your dislike of ward, you would find out that oversight of the petition process is under the direction of the city clerk, not the mayor. find something else to embarass yourself with, you are doing a great job.

Anonymous said...

And who does the City Clerk report to?

Who is responsible for seeing that the City Clerk does his/her job?

Anonymous said...

? - 9:36 - and if ward jumped in, you would be accusing him of micro-managing or exercising political strong-arm tactics - go choke on a "chill" pill

Anonymous said...

"Who is responsible for seeing that the City Clerk does his/her job?"

~ Ms. Pac is pefectly capable of doing her job without the mayor looking over her shoulder. If you're looking to point fingers at inept, sloppy petition organization, you needn't look any further than the 3 strooges who are pushing it.

Anonymous said...

10:11 Whu not, Ward is micro managing everything else!

Anonymous said...

Since it is "THEIR PETITION", are you suggesting that it should be run "THEIR" way?

Of course, maybe Ward is talking out of both sides of his mouth, and really wants this to pass, as he could be a big beneficiary of it.

Anonymous said...

Minor and Cockayne and you other Anti~Ward(Mayor)Folks HAVE A BIG MOUTH!!!!!! Why Don't You Start Pounding The Pavement with Minor/Cockayne INSTEAD of Pounding Down All The Good Art Ward Is Doing For Bristol.
Minor/Cockayne have bitten off more than they could chew, they took the lazy way out and dropped the Petitions off at area Business because they do not want to face the Citizen's of Bristol Face to Face and explain this CooCoo Petition.
Are You Both For Real....??????