For the second time, the required number of signatures have been submitted to recall Red Wing City Council member Dean Hove.
Meanwhile, the council’s latest lawless effort to disenfranchise the voters of Red Wing has come in the form of selectively deleting verified signatures from recall petitions, weeks after the petition process concluded.
In its “Administrator’s Status Report” from June 28, Red Wing candidly acknowledges that “there is no precedent for removing names from recall petitions.” But, undeterred by the lack of any legal foundation, the city tells us that “staff” will nevertheless remove signatures from recall petitions if a signer “… send(s) in a written request.”
The city is no more justified in subtracting signatures in this manner than are the petitioners in adding them.
Recall of public officials is a power reserved for the people under the Red Wing City Charter.
The Legislature codified the power to amend a municipal charter in Minnesota Statutes Section 410.12 precisely because it sought to keep rogue city councils in check. If the council wishes to pick and choose which signatures it may erase outside the window prescribed for review under the City Charter Recall process, it must amend the charter.
Under 410.12, this requires, per the statute, notice, review by the Charter Commission, a public hearing and, unless support is unanimous, approval by the voters. If the city proceeds with removal of signatures without amending the charter, the entire statutory process will have been disregarded.
In its zeal to short-circuit the City Charter, the Red Wing City Council has given the voters yet another reason to consider their removal through the recall process at the ballot box.
Gregory J. Joseph
Attorney Gregory J. Joseph represents the Recall City Hall Committee.