Councilor David Madore files referendum on ordinance approved by fellow councilors

VANCOUVER — Councilor David Madore filed a referendum on Wed., Nov. 9 with the Clark County Auditor’s Office seeking to have the approval of an ordinance passed by the Board of Clark County Councilors on Tuesday overturned by Clark County voters.

Madore’s referendum is seeking to prevent the implementation of Ordinance No. 2016-11-04, passed by a 3-2 vote by the councilors on Tuesday. Chair Marc Boldt and councilors Jeanne Stewart and Julie Olson voted in favor of the ordinance and Madore and councilor Tom Mielke voted in opposition.

The ordinance was written by Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chris Horne and was described as “relating to establishment and authority delegated to the County Manager.’’ The ordinance included several proposed amendments to Clark County Code 2.09.030.

On the agenda for Tuesday’s hearing, the description of the proposed ordinance was described as: “To consider an ordinance amending CCC 2.09 to recognize the authority granted to the County Manager under the Clark County Charter and to accommodate those occasions when posting contracts on the grid may violate personnel policies or be against the public interest.’’

During the discussion, Horne indicated the  primary purpose of the ordinance was to provide the county manager the authority to not publicly post Human Resources contracts that were sensitive in nature. Horne indicated it was rare that the county would deal with contracts of that nature, but it had been the case on three recent occasions.

After much discussion by the councilors, Horne and County Manager Mark McCauley, three amendments to the ordinance were approved by the councilors prior to its approval. Stewart proposed the amendments, which included the removal of a proposed increase in the limit of the size of contracts (from $100,000 to $250,000) the county manager is authorized to approve. Another amendment removed a requirement that the county manager only notify the chair and two of the remaining councilors of each Human Resources contract prior to execution by the county manager.

Madore, who is founder and owner of ClarkCountyToday.com, told  the news organization Wednesday his reason for filing the referendum.

“We committed to transparency and accountability in how we do the people’s business and this violates all of that,’’ Madore said.

Toward the end of the discussion during Tuesday’s public hearing, Madore attempted to read testimony into the record. During his attempt to do so, the councilor was interrupted repeatedly by Stewart, Olson and Chair Boldt, who attempted to gavel down Madore before the councilor’s microphone was eventually turned off.

The text of Madore’s testimony can be read here.

The power of referendum is provided in Section 7.4 of the Charter, which states (in part):

  • A referendum shall be filed within 10 days after the council passes an ordinance. A referendum may be filed against an ordinance or any portion of an ordinance. Any registered Clark County voter may file with the auditor a referendum petition signed by at least one hundred (100) registered voters of Clark County (Madore collected 256 signatures).
  • The auditor shall verify signatures on the referendum petition within 10 calendar days. After one hundred 100 signatures are validated, the ordinance or portion of the ordinance subject to referendum is suspended until:  Sufficient valid signatures are collected within the time prescribed by this section to place the measure on the ballot and voters have voted on the measure; valid signatures are not collected within the time prescribed by this section to place the measure on the ballot.
  • The petitioner shall have 120 calendar days from registration to collect signatures of registered Clark County voters. The number of valid signatures collected shall equal no less than 10 percent of the total votes cast in the county in the last gubernatorial election. Each petition shall contain the full text of the referred measure and ballot title. The auditor shall verify the number of signatures on the petition and, if valid, submit the measure to voters at the next general election. Petition signatures must be submitted to the auditor for verification no less than 150 calendar days before the date of the next general election.
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