COTTAGE GROVE – Just an hour before his 5 p.m. deadline on Oct. 23, Cottage Grove resident Michael Borke submitted over 700 signatures to city recorder and elections official Mindy Roberts to recall councilors Mike Fleck, Chalice Savage, and Jon Stinnett.
“It’s a learning experience,” Borke said. “Next time, if we do anything else, it won’t take nearly as long because now we’re organized.”
Borke said many community members he spoke to in favor of the recall thought the councilors had been there for too long; they were unhappy with how the unhoused situation was managed, and they were frustrated about their water bills.
Although only 654 verifiable signatures are necessary to guarantee Cottage Grove has a special election to decide these three councilors’ fate, Borke collected excess signatures to ensure the best odds of achieving a minimum of 654.
Now that the signatures have been turned in – completing step seven of the 11-step recall process, which is explained in the Oregon Secretary of State recall manual – the ball is in Roberts’ court. She has 30 days to conduct signature verification; this must be done by Wednesday, Nov. 22 at the latest.
Borke said he will be attending the official counting of the signatures whenever that is scheduled.
After the official counting of the signatures, the City will move forward in this process through step nine: informing the chief petitioner – Borke – and the public officers – Fleck, Savage, and Stinnett – of the signature verification results.
There are two potential outcomes. The first is that an insufficient number of signatures is able to be verified, which would cause this potential recall process to end. The second is that 654 signatures are verified, and the public officers may either submit their resignations or statements of justification.
These submissions must be filed no later than five days after Roberts announces the verification verdict to the four stakeholders, which would be by Monday, Nov. 27 if Roberts does not finish verifying the signatures until her 30th day.
Fleck spoke about his potential recall at this week’s city council meeting on Oct. 23.
“I like to say I’m frustrated because this is going to show hate and malcontent. This is going to cost the city money, and it’s frustrating to me,” Fleck said. “Obviously I support the voters having a say, but I believe the recall should be for somebody who’s done something wrong, somebody who’s broken the law, somebody who has really rose to the level of ‘Oh, they need to be removed before the next election.’”