Recall would cost Sandusky $10K to $20 K

SANDUSKY A recall vote of one or more city commissioners would cost the city somewhere between &#036
May 24, 2010



A recall vote of one or more city commissioners would cost the city somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000.

That's according to Jennifer Ferback, deputy director of the Erie County Board of Elections.

Ferback said it would cost $7,000 for poll workers, plus additional funds for ballots, rented tables and chairs and other materials.

A committee of concerned citizens led by resident Diedre Cole announced last week they were considering a recall petition of ex-officio mayor Craig Stahl, but "didn't want to unnecessarily burden the taxpayers."

Ferback said Wednesday that board of elections director Deborah McDowell would be able to give a more specific estimate for the cost of a special election, but McDowell was on vacation Wednesday and Thursday.

In August, McDowell estimated a special recall election would cost about $12,000.

"And all that would fall on the city because it's a municipal election," Ferback said Wednesday.

Stahl's term expires at the end of 2009, and he's expected to run for re-election in November.

According to the city charter, however, if Stahl or any other commissioners were recalled, they would not be able to run for re-election this year.

"No person removed by recall shall be eligible to be elected or appointed upon or for a period of 2 years after the date of such recall," the charter says.

In a news release last week, the citizens committee listed "areas of concern" and said, "Mr. Stahl's pattern of behavior and mismanagement fail the majority of Sandusky residents and warrant his recall as provided under the city charter."

Some of the areas of concern include:

n Kim Nuesse firing and lawsuit

n Marina District project

n Excessive use of executive sessions

n Disregard for the city charter

n Coal tar plume issues

n Giving public land to the Sandusky Yacht Club

n Poor management of the budget

n Lack of transparency

n Decisions made behind closed doors and in private meetings

n Ignoring citizen committees appointed by the city

Cole said they will study Stahl's record from day one, which will also give the committee "the framework to look at all the commissioners."

If they choose to go forward with the recall, they will fulfill the requirements quickly, she said, so the recall election can happen well before the November elections.

She said that ultimately, the city can no longer endure "a pattern of special-interest politics that only benefits the few, while the interests of most of the city's residents are ignored."