By Jim Young
Crossville City Council has approved a proposed change to the city charter that, for the first time in Crossville history, could give voters the opportunity to recall a city council candidate after being elected but before the term is up.
The matter will appear as a charter amendment question on the November ballot, giving city voters the opportunity to make a decision on the measure before it goes into effect. If approved in November, the recall provision would require a petition to recall a council member to be signed by 33 percent of registered city voters to put a recall on a public ballot. Then, the recall measure would have to be approved by 66 percent of voters for the council member to actually be removed.
This option grew out of Councilman Pete Souza's recent proposal to have a “confidence vote” put on the upcoming May ballot. After research it was determined, according to City Manager David Rutherford, that the city charter had no provision for such a vote, even one with out real consequences, and state election law also has no provision for such a vote to be taken.
The city looked into a provision for a recall option and modeled one after other private city charters that have a recall option. Following approval by the council, Rutherford said the recall language would go to the Tennessee General Assembly, along with the previous charter changes already sent to them. Once approved by the legislature, the matter will appear on the city ballot in November, in addition to the term limit provision charter change, for Crossville citizens to vote on both matters separately.
Souza said, “Anything that allows the citizens to make an option relative to the elected officials, I will support.” Souza moved to approve. Councilman Jesse Kerley said he would second the motion if the provision was removed that the city might have to pay for the recall election if the vote successfully removes a council person from office.
The original proposal was for the petitioner to post a cash bond for the estimated cost of the recall ballot measure and, if the vote was successful, the petitioner would have their cash bond returned. Based on the vote by council, the petitioner will be charged for the ballot measure no matter which way the vote turns out.
Souza, Kerley, Councilman Danny Wyatt and Mayor J.H. Graham III voted in favor of the motion, while Councilman George Marlow opposed.
Graham proclaimed Feb. 25 as International Spay/Nueter Day and presented the proclamation to representatives of the local Wags and Whiskers organization. Alan Baker of Wags and Whiskers spoke and said that his group still had funds from a grant that will allow Crossville residents to have their dogs spayed or neutered for a $4 co-payment until either the funds run out or the grant period ends in July this year. Dogs will also be vaccinated for rabies for that low cost.
Funds for fixing dogs came from a PetSmart grant. If anyone is interested in the service, they should contact Wags and Whiskers. Baker said he would hate to have to give any left over money back and encouraged people to spread the word for the program. For complete information, contact the organization at 788-2201.
The council approved a motion by Kerley to sell a lot on Holiday Dr. The lot is adjacent to a lot that has a wastewater lift station and a purchaser would need to be aware that there could be occasional smell. The lot currently has a sewer line that runs across it, but that line would be moved at a cost of $4,000 to $5,000.
Kerley's motion was to have a survey made and to hire an auctioneer and set a sale date. The lot would be sold at auction, but any sale would have to be approved by the council and could possibly be subject to a citizen petition to stop the sale.