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Glenwood City Mayor and two council members are target of recall election

GLENWOOD CITY — The mayor and two members of the city council are the target of a recall petition. An organization called The Glenwood City Citizens for Legal and Ethical Representation filed against Mayor John Larson and council persons David Graese and Nancy Hover. All three members are in the second year of their current terms.

A press release was sent to this newspaper from Stephanie May stating the following: “The Glenwood City Citizens for Legal and Ethical Representation filed statements of Intent to Circulate Recall Petitions with the city clerk in Glenwood City on Friday, September 20th. The statement named Mayor John Larson and council members Nancy Hover and David Graese.”

The statement continued,“A majority of the voting citizens of Glenwood City signed a petition requesting a referendum on whether the City of Glenwood City should annex land from the Town of Glenwood for the purpose of open pit industrial sand mining. The mayor and city council tabled the petition request stating it was too soon to discuss a referendum.”

“After tabling the referendum discussion, the Glenwood City Council met in a closed door session with Vista Sand over the vocal protest of many citizens and Council Member Crystal Booth, questioning both the legality and the necessity of the closed door session.”

Deanna Schone and Julie Augesen, both Glenwood City residents, signed the recall petition which was filed at the city hall last Friday, September 20. The papers filed at city hall indicate the reason for recalling those members of the council as “Malfeasance.”

Malfeasance is described by the dictionary as: “the performance by a public official of an act that is legally unjustified, harmful, or contrary to law; wrongdoing, used especially of an act in violation of public trust.”

According to state law, the group has 60 days to collect signatures from at least 83 qualified electors of the City of Glenwood and present that petition to the city clerk. The city clerk has up to 31 days to verify the signatures. Within that 31 day period, there is time for the current officials to challenge any of those signatures.

If the city clerk verifies that sufficient numbers of qualified electors have signed the petition, then up to six weeks of time is allow by state law for the election to be held. If there is a need for a primary, when more than two candidates have filed for one of the seats, then the time period for the election procedure can consume up to ten weeks because of the need for a primary election.

This is not the first time Glenwood City has seen a recall petition. Back in 2007 a petition to recall then Mayor Mark DeBehnke was presented to city hall by Luanne Flick and Crystal Booth. Booth is now a member of the city council. That signed petition was delivered to city hall on April 17, 2007 and certified by the city clerk on May 30 after Mayor DeBehnke filed a challenge.

The election was held on July 10th with three candidates running for the mayor’s job. The incumbent is automatically on the ballot. Two others filed for the mayor’s seat and that three-way race could have caused a second election. But John Larson received more than 50 percent of the vote over DeBehnke and Jim Kuehl and was elected mayor without the need for a second election. The count was 178 for Larson, DeBenhke 84 and Kuehl, 74.

With the time line of the 2007 election, any recall election could not take place until after the first of the year and then Larson, Graese, Hover and Scott Schone will face the voters at the general election in April. According to the printed story of the 2007 election, the cost of that recall election was close to $2,000.