Officials said the five proposals listed on the city ballot will not be counted after questions were raised if the ballot measures were published, as required by state law and City Charter.
On Oct. 23, a Tahlequah resident contacted the Daily Press in regard to the Notice of Municipal Election not being published as it should.
According to Section 92 of the City Charter, the notice must be published in the newspaper of general circulation for four consecutive weeks before the election.
“The City Charter does indicate that a proposed Charter modification must be published each of the four weeks prior to the election,” said Tahlequah Mayor Sue Catron. “State statutes require publication three consecutive weeks, with the election date not less than 20 days or more than 30 days after the last publication.”
According to the Oklahoma Statute, the notice must be published in the newspaper once a week for three consecutive weeks before the election.
Catron said City Attorney Grant Lloyd provided instructions to City Clerk DeAnna Hammons informing the need to publish the notice each week for four weeks prior to the election. Catron said that requirement was not met, and they don’t want to place the results of the election into a questionable state.
“That said, I have spoken with Tiffany Rozell at the Election Board about the status of the election that is partially underway. They have the option of pulling the ballots from the process or proceeding and collecting vote information even though it will not be used to alter the Charter,” Catron said. "Our City Council and Charter Review Committee will want input on that decision. I will be scheduling a Council meeting for next week to make that determination.”
Peggy Glenn, who chairs the City Charter Review Committee, said there are five propositions: adding another councilor for each ward; the street commissioner would be appointed, rather than elected; the city treasurer would be appointed in the same fashion; the mayor would be able to vote on all matters; and a recall provision would be in place for any city elected official.
An emergency City Council meeting is slated for Oct. 27 at noon. Catron said Councilors will vote to either remove the proposals from the ballot, or keep them with the votes not counted.
Catron said they will plan to regroup and have the proposals on February’s ballot.