City Clerk Therese Pac said her office is still checking over the more than 4,300 signatures submitted last month in a bid to force a referendum on the proposed chief operating officer for City Hall.
Pac also defended her handling of the issue, which some criticized sharply because of her insistence that the petition gatherers have their own signatures notarized if organizers wanted them to count.
“It’s my duty to make sure it gets done properly,” Pac said.
Organizers needed to turn in slightly less than 3,200 valid signatures in order to require an Election Day referendum on the proposal to have the city create a sort of city manager-lite who would oversee administrative matters currently done by the mayor.
After city councilors rejected the Charter Revision Commission’s unanimous recommendation to create the position, supporters fanned out to collect signatures that would put the proposal on the ballot anyway.
Pac said she learned two weeks into the campaign – during a Saturday afternoon conversation at a vegetable stand – that those pushing for the referendum were collecting petitions that hadn’t been notarized properly.
As soon as she heard it, she said, she let organizers know the rules so they would have plenty of time to fix the problem.
City Councilor Ken Cockayne said at the time that he was upset the city was “changing the rules in the middle of the game" to make it harder on those handling the petition drive.
Others went further, accusing Pac of trying to torpedo the entire effort.
Pac said this week that if she wanted to undermine the petition drive, all she had to do was remain mum. Then all of the petitions would have been thrown out and the referendum would be a dead issue.
Pac said that because she spoke up, organizers were able to turn in nearly 260 pages of signatures – all notarized properly.
“The defect was fixed,” she said, and isn’t an issue.
Cockayne said he doesn’t agree with everything that Pac said in her defense.
But, he said, he doesn’t want to elaborate on his concerns while the clerk’s office is reviewing the signatures.
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