Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Minnesota: Bemidji to vote on ballot measure adopting recall

Bemidji is considering adopting a recall provision, as the Charter Commission approved language for a "judicial recall" or malfeasance standard law to be placed before voters on November 6. Last year, the city council voted 5-1 against adopting a recall.

The proposed law reads:
“Shall the Bemidji Council-Manager Charter be amended to add Section 5.07, providing for a recall procedure to remove an elective municipal officer for malfeasance or nonfeasance in office?”

The law would require signatures of 20% of turnout.

Here's a bit on the difficulties with malfeasance:
Commission member Nancy Erickson said she was approached last year by landlords who wanted to recall the councilors who voted in favor of the rental ordinance changes. She told them that not only was there no process in place for the recall of councilors, none of the councilors had committed malfeasance or nonfeasance.
“’You simply don’t agree with them,’” she recalled telling the landlords.
The response from the landlords, she said, was that because they didn’t agree with the councilors, in their minds that did constitute malfeasance.
Erickson said that example illustrates her one issue with the proposed language. No one throughout the recall process rules on whether the accused councilor is actually guilty of malfeasance – unlawful or wrongful conduct – or nonfeasance, or nonperformance.
That decision is left to voters to decide, commission members responded.
Note though that there has been reports that Minnesota has never had a recall.

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