August 25, 2011 |

Assembly sends recall effort to ballot

Haines Borough Assembly members Daymond Hoffman and Joanne Waterman on Tuesday joined in unanimous votes to put their own recall elections on the ballot for the October municipal election.

Resolutions for each recall vote initially were included on the consent agenda for Tuesday’s assembly meeting, which would have given the go-ahead to the recall votes without involving a separate vote on the matter by assembly members.

Member Steve Vick then requested the resolutions on the consent agenda be considered individually.

"It’s an important issue, and I think if the members of the assembly want an opportunity to comment on it publicly, they should be allowed that," Vick said. "I’m not trying to stop it; I’m going to vote for it."

Borough clerk Julie Cozzi said state law gives no clear direction for how a governing body should approve a recall election.

"It was making me really uncomfortable, the idea of assembly members Hoffman and Waterman having to be faced with voting ‘yes’ to put recall questions on the ballot," Cozzi said.

"It was disturbing my sleep and, finally, one morning I just thought, ‘Wow, maybe consent agenda.’ I ran it by the Mayor and the manager, just so you know it wasn’t in a vacuum, it wasn’t any kind of a political decision; it was based on sensitivity to the two assembly members," Cozzi said.

The Haines Recall Committee earlier this month submitted recall petitions for Hoffman and Waterman, alleging both assembly members failed to perform prescribed duties when they voted June 13 to set a special election instead of filling a vacant assembly seat within the code-required 30 days. Each petition had more than the required 275 signatures.

Cozzi said because the petitions had been certified as "sufficient" within the timeline to make the October ballot, the assembly was required to approve the resolutions. "It’s not an option."

Waterman did not comment on the recall at Tuesday’s meeting.

Hoffman said he would wait to address the issue. "I actually had something written up," he said. "I thought I needed to say it, but I don’t need to say it here."