By Danielle Carty
How did this charter come about?
The town of Bemidji is run under a charter, which means we are run under a weak mayor strong management. The people secure the benefits of home rule and affirm the values of representative democracy. There are 8 charter commissioners that are residents of Bemidji that at least have to meet annually, which is in June. The commissioners try to meet the needs of the people. They researched and looked into the recall amendment that rochester has and they believed it would be beneficially to the people.
What is the recall amendment?
The recall amendment provides the recall procedure to remove an elective municipal official for malfeasance or nonfeasance. Which means they are either not doing their job as an official, or they have any unlawful or wrongful conduct that affects, interrupts or interferes with the performance of official duties.
How does the recall amendment work?
Any five registered voters qualified to vote for a successor of the office may form into a committee for the purpose of bringing about the recall of such elective official. The committee shall initiate a petition stating the grounds for removal. The petition, when complete, shall have been signed by registered voters qualified to vote for a successor of the office equal in number to twenty percent of those who voted for the office in the last election. The completed recall petition is then filed with the City Clerk, who thereafter shall determine if the petition is sufficient, the petition shall be submitted to the City Council which shall call for an election of the voters to determine if the alleged actions or omissions constituting malfeasance or nonfeasance is sufficient cause for the elective official's removal from office. If the official is the Mayor, or council member-at-large, the election shall be city-wide. If the official is a ward council-member, it shall be limited to the particular ward.
What happens if the voter doesn’t select yes or no?
The vote is not counted then, it is not like the state amendment where if you leave it blank it counts as no. It does not get counted.
Does this amendment have to do with the Rental Ordinance?
No, this recall amendment has been looked into and thought about by the charter commission for at least three years, this has no correlation to the start of the recall amendment.
How long does it take for the recall to be processed?
The completed recall petition papers hall be filed in the office of the city clerk within thirty days of the filing of the initial recall proposal. Within thirty days of filing of the peition, the city clerk determines if the voters are registered, and valid, and that the petition is legitimate. The petition is sent from the clerk to the council. The council, at it’s next meeting, fixes a date for the holding of a special recall election no less than thirty no more than forty-five days thereafter. The recall election shall be city-wide if the officer is the mayor or council member at large, and shall be limited to a particular ward if the officer is a ward council member. The officer will be removed and the office will be vacant, if a majority of the votes cast on the question be in favor of the recall of said officer, said officer shall be removed and the council shall thereupon declare a vacancy to exist. Unless the officer whose removal is sought shall have resigned within ten days after the receipt by the council of the completed recall petition, the form of the ballot quesiton will read, “Shall ____________be recalled from the office of _______? Then it will be followed with yes or no?
The ordinance will become effective ninety days after its passage and publication according to law.
How long does the official have to be in office in order to be recalled?
No removal petition shall be filed against any officer until the officer has actually held office for at least six months.
Can an official be put back into office after recall?
No person who has been removed from office by recall, or has resigned from office after the filing of a recall petition, shall be appointed to any office under this Charter within one year after such recall or resignation.
Will there be information on the ballot about the recall amendment?
Yes, there will be a definition of malfeasance and nonfeasance and a short summary of how the recall process works.