Recall of officials a bad idea

Recall of officials a bad idea

August 19th, 2010 in Opinion Free Press

We always hope all of the public officials we elect - from president on down - will perform well, pleasing us in all of their policies and actions, serving us with "good results."

But it is not likely that even our "favorite" elected officials will please us on every issue all of the time.

We have the right of free speech to tell them whether we approve or not.

But unless a public official unfortunately engages in some illegal, immoral or other reprehensible action - not just disagrees with us on some issue - it is best to wait until the next election to vote him out of office or retain him, as we prefer.

That helps provide stable, orderly and economical elected government, with an opportunity for any desired change at regular intervals.

It is unfortunate that some Chattanooga voters currently have become displeased enough with some city officials to seek enough signatures on petitions to "recall" Mayor Ron Littlefield, Councilman Jack Benson and Councilman Manny Rico, remove them from office before the end of their elected terms, and have replacement elections.

To require a recall election, a petition with roughly 9,000 verified signatures would be needed in the case of Littlefield, about 750 signatures concerning Benson, and about 450 signatures concerning Rico. (The variations involve the number of votes the officials received in their last election.)

If sufficient signatures are obtained by dissatisfied voters, recall elections would be scheduled and qualified voters would decide whether to retain or reject the questioned officials.

We do not believe there are sufficient objections in any of these cases to justify the expense to taxpayers and the potential disruption of having recall votes.

Whether our citizens approve or disapprove some of these officials' actions, all of these officials are honorable gentlemen who are seeking to serve according to their best judgment.

We believe it would be much better to allow all of our Chattanooga officials to serve out the terms to which they have been elected, and then for our citizens to decide in the next regular election whether to retain or replace them.

We do not recommend any recall under these circumstances.