OAKRIDGE, Ore. — The same day the city of Oakridge met in a heated council meeting about its budget woes, a petition surfaced demanding the majority of councilors and mayor be recalled.
But those who filed the five petitions for recall said Monday, this has been a long time coming.
The filings happened on July 7, the same day hundreds of citizens poured into a city council meeting, angry about the city’s financial miscalculation of more than $400,000.
The allegations against Mayor Donald Hampton say he broke laws and covered up budget scandals.
Councilors Amy Kordosky, Glenn Fortune, Rayetta Clark and Gerald Shory are accused of flat-out lying to citizens and refusing to fire the city administrator for breaking laws, to uneducated voting on budget issues.
“They’re not responding to us at all. We try to get them to reduce the budget, several of the things we’ve been trying to get them to do and they just won’t do it,” said Robert Baker, a petitioner.
Baker says they have been asking for action from the council on a number of things, like getting term limits on the city council, ridding the city’s police department and using the sheriff’s office, and get rid of some of City Administrator Gordon Zimmerman’s power.
Councilor Gerald Shory had no idea he was being petitioned for a recall until we called him.
“I don’t blame them but at the same time I don’t blame the council. None of those councilors are paid. None of them are in there to do a bad job,” Shory said.
Shory said he’s not worried about facing a recall because he is elected to a position to represent the people. He said if they feel he isn’t doing his job, they can choose to recall him.
Petitioners also claimed Shory and others, did not fire Zimmerman for failing to conduct city audits since 2008.
Zimmerman said he could not comment on the recall but said, “At the last council meeting, there were several calls for my resignation. I work for whoever is elected and that’s the way it works.”
Zimmerman said the petitioners have October 6, to collect 173 voter signatures. That’s 15 percent of the town’s votes for the last governor election.
Zimmerman said if the councilors or the mayor respond, an election must be scheduled within 35 days.
He said if there are enough valid signatures before September 17, they can file the recalls with the county, saving the city about $4,500.
Two city councilors were left out of the filing. Petitioners said they are happy with those councilors representation so far.