Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Officials say petition illegal, lacks sponsors

A petition circulating West Fargo bars this week to recall City Commissioner Brenda Warren is illegal, according to city officials. West Fargo Finance Director Sharon Schacher said no paperwork was filed with the city in order to authenticate the...

A petition circulating West Fargo bars this week to recall City Commissioner Brenda Warren is illegal, according to city officials.

West Fargo Finance Director Sharon Schacher said no paperwork was filed with the city in order to authenticate the petition as of late Wednesday afternoon.

City Administrator Jim Brownlee, who saw a copy of the petition Wednesday, said it also lacks three required sponsors, whose identities must be confirmed.

To force a recall election, 1,380 signatures - the equivalent of 15 percent of the people who voted in the last presidential election - must be collected, according to the city's home rule charter.

Once all signatures are verified by the city auditor, a special election must be scheduled no sooner than 90 days and no later than 180 days from when the signatures were deemed sufficient.

ADVERTISEMENT

Resident Lois Hehr started the petition in wake of Warren's call for a stronger citywide smoking ban that would mirror Minnesota's recently passed statewide ban that includes bars.

Hehr did not return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday. She told The Forum on Tuesday that she was spurred to start a recall petition after Warren said she was disappointed in North Dakota's Legislature for not enforcing a statewide ban to include bars.

City voters passed a smoking ban in November 2004 that excluded bars, but not the Veterans of Foreign Wars bar.

The ban was relaxed in November after VFW officials complained about losing business to bars allowing smoking. Warren cast the lone vote against relaxing the ban.

Warren presented another smoking ban proposal to her commission colleagues Monday night.

Her motion directing City Attorney Brian Neugebauer to work with Fargo and Moorhead on drafting a tri-city ban passed by a 3-2 vote.

Warren said she didn't expect the anonymous phone message left at her home after Monday's meeting that informed her of the recall attempt.

"I was surprised," she said. "Recalling an elected official is very, very serious."

ADVERTISEMENT

Hehr also said Tuesday that Warren is too focused on a smoking ban and believes other city issues are being forgotten.

Warren - who said she does not know Hehr - disagreed and recalled her efforts in getting the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the chemical spill discovered in 1998 at the former Camelot Cleaners store. She also said she has a reputation as a "neighborhood advocate."

"It just doesn't seem logical" for Hehr to start a recall drive because she has a different viewpoint, Warren said, adding that recall attempts are more common with public officials accused of crime and misconduct.

Warren is serving her third four-year term, which ends in 2008.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Benny Polacca at (701) 241-5504

What To Read Next
The Buffalo Bills safety who suffered a cardiac arrest on Monday Night Football in January is urging people to learn how to save lives the way his was saved.
Josh Sipes was watching an in-flight movie when he became aware the flight crew were asking for help assisting a woman who was experiencing a medical problem.
A Sanford doctor says moderate cold exposure could be the boost people need for their day.
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.