Claremore Daily Progress

Our View

September 22, 2012

Voters must turn to DA or Feds for county investigation

CLAREMORE —  

Justice delayed is justice denied or avoided.
With reports of alleged impropriety by Rogers County Commissioner Mike Helm and County Clerk-elect Robin Anderson regarding the use of FEMA funds and the solicitation and acceptance of vendor donation, residents ask, “what can be done?”
The cold, hard fact is residents have no recourse in seeking justice for alleged misuse of governmental authority. No recourse.
During the 53rd Legislative Session, state lawmakers passed a bill that exempts municipal and county elected officials from a formal recall process.
In other words, voters have no redress to turn out an elected official that has taken FEMA funds for one project and used them for another non-FEMA project. Voters cannot file a recall petition, get the necessary signatures of registered voters to have an election to oust a commissioner that might illegally dump rock and dirt into the Verdigris River despite Oklahoma’s DEQ saying he shouldn’t.
And voters cannot file the recall petition calling for the ousting of a county commissioner that decided not to take new bids for road striping by turning the project into a series of projects instead of having to put the project out for competitive bids, which is required by law.
Rogers County voters do not have the opportunity to legally recall a commissioner that directed his staff and personally solicited donations of gifts for the county from the same vendors who the commissioner has ongoing contracts, which the elected official took a solemn oath to not take anything as a gift.
No — Rogers County voters cannot exercise their right to legally recall any elected official, who may have violated the law and misused their position.  Voters no longer have that right, which was taken away by the state legislature.
Unfortunately, voters have only two paths which could be pursued to bring make an elected official be confronted with such charges in a formal forum.

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