Petition to recall Dinosaur mayor declared sufficient

A petition filed Thursday to recall Dinosaur Mayor Richard Blakely was found sufficient by interim Town Clerk Tamara Long. The petition was submitted with 51 signatures, with three found invalid. Only 43 signatures were needed to make the petition sufficient.

The petition was denied the first time it was submitted because it hadn't been notarized.

The recall effort originated with former town trustee Mike Christoff who has accused Blakely of not enforcing town ordinances, not using proper procedure at town meetings, improper hiring and firing procedures, refusal to reconcile problems concerning property in the town, not supporting the town police department and not fulfilling his duties after taking an oath to represent the Town of Dinosaur.

Blakely has denied the allegations.

According to state statute concerning municipal recall procedures, Blakely, or any other Dinosaur resident has 15 days to protest the petition. Blakely said he is looking into a protest on the basis the signatures were obtained unethically.

"I've been told by some who signed the petition they were misled," Blakely said. "They were told the petition was for raising the street."

Blakely said there were six or seven people who complained they were misled because the front page citing the reasons for the petition and the basis for recall was folded under. Some members of the Town Council have asked people if they were misled in signing the petition, Blakely said.

Christoff said that is untrue and he made every person read the allegations before signing the petition. He said people are afraid because Blakely, in his position as mayor, was intimidating to them. If Blakely does file a protest, Christoff will argue people who signed the petition and want their signatures removed were intimidated.

"If it goes to a hearing, I'm going to bring up the intimidation factor," Christoff said.

He said several people have told him they were spoken to by Blakely or other members of the Town Council.

According to state statute, the town has five days after the sufficiency of a petition has been filed to file notice of an election. The election must be held between 45 days and 75 days after the petition is filed. The law is not clear on how the process will be impacted if a protest is filed. Neither Blakely or Long could say and the town attorney is out until Wednesday.

If a protest is launched, a copy of it must be mailed to the petition circulators and a hearing must be scheduled within five to 10 days after the copy is mailed.

Christoff thinks protesting the recall is wasted effort on Blakely's part.

"If he thinks he did such a good job, then he should just go through the elections," he said. "He should either resign or withstand election. If it was me, I'd just leave, but him, he's got to pick at it."

Long said she has not made any preparations for an election and is not sure there are any plans to prepare for an election.

According the Blakely, the recall is caused by people with too much time on their hands.

"Some people have all the time in the world to dream these things up," he said. "(Christoff) made the brag of getting 75 names on the petition easily and he's quite a way from that."

Blakely is one year and seven months into his second term as mayor. He was elected in April, 1998, after earning 110 votes while his opponent, Cletis Sands, earned 61.

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