Toledo Mayor Billie Jo Smith has submitted a letter to the editor of NewsLincolnCounty.com outlining her observations surrounding criticism of her and other city councilors on a number of subject areas – sufficient, in the view of critics, to prompt them to file recall petitions.
As with all letters to the editor, the submitted words are strictly Mayor Smith’s own and do not necessarily reflect the observations, views or conclusions of the staff and management of NewsLincolnCounty.com nor of its advertisers.
Response #1 to Toledo Recall Petition Claims
The recall petition that is being circulated for signatures in Toledo makes 5 claims against Mayor Billie Jo Smith, and 4 against City Council President Terri Strom and Councilor Deanne Dunlap. Some of the claims are submitted as fact and are completely untrue. All others are misleading and are the opinions of the individuals leading the recall.
The petitions against Terri Strom and Deanne Dunlap repeat the claims against the Mayor, and accuse them of supporting the Mayor. In fact, the Mayor and Councilors have been acting on the decisions of the City Council. The truth about each of the claims requires background information and definitions. To respond to all of the claims in one article would make it too much to print and read. Also, some of the claims have several parts. To make this easier for readers, we will respond to only one of the claims at a time.
Recall Petition Claim:
Ethics law violation: Routinely conducts City business in illegal and serial meetings with other Councilors.
This claim is false. The Mayor and accused Councilors have not held or participated in an illegal or serial meeting with other Councilors. An illegal meeting occurs when 4 (a quorum) or more Councilors discuss a city issue or topic outside of an announced meeting. This hasn’t occurred! Up to three Council members may discuss any matter together and be together in one place.
* A “serial” meeting is when two or three Councilors receive information or talk about an issue, then they pass the information along a chain to other Councilors until four (a quorum) or more Councilors have the information.
* The City Manager, city staff, and members of the public can send written or electronic information to one or all of the Councilors.
* The City Manager, city staff, and members of the public can personally provide information to any number of Councilors, as long as no more than three Councilors are present at the same time.
The Mayor was criticized in the newspaper recently for making a statement about the Council’s support for the City Manager. It was claimed that she couldn’t have known that without holding an illegal meeting. The statement she had made was, in fact, a direct quote from the March 21, 2018 public statement on the evaluation of the City Manager, which was read in the public meeting and approved by a unanimous vote of the Council.
* The Oregon Ethics Commission oversees violations for “illegal or serial meetings.” The public may file a complaint with the Oregon Ethics Commission if they have evidence that the Council has violated the Oregon Open Meeting Laws. To this date, no complaint has been filed with the Oregon Ethics Commission and no Council member has been investigated regarding this issue.
Mayor Billie Jo Smith
City of Toledo
Citizens are cordially invited to submit their own views or observations on the above statements by Mayor Smith. Email them to: News@NewsLincolnCounty.com.