RED WING — George Hintz admitted he was "exhausted" Sunday night.
"The other members on our committee are feeling the same," Hintz said. The weekend was spent collecting signatures, sorting and copying, and verifying who collected what signatures for the Recall City Hall committee in Red Wing. "But we see the light at the end of the tunnel."
As of late Sunday, it looked like the recall committee would fall just short of collecting enough signatures to recall every member of the Red Wing City Council. Kim Beise, who took part in the closed meetings the group has cited as the acts of malfeasance that warrant recall but voted against firing of then-Police Chief Roger Pohlman, is the lone city council member who won't face recall.
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Hintz said he and his colleagues plan to bring the signed petitions to recall each member of the city council to City Hall Monday afternoon.
According to the Red Wing City Charter, the city clerk, Teri Swanson, has five days from the time she receives the signed petitions to examine them and verify whether they meet the requirements for recall. For example, signatures supporting recall of a particular city council member must be from registered voters from the ward or wards that council member represents. Each signature line must be completely filled in as well.
Using voter registration numbers provided by the city of Red Wing, the number of verified signatures needed to recall each member of the city council is:
- Ward 1, Kim Beise, 569;
- Ward 2, Andy Klitzke, 517;
- Ward 3, Becky Norton, 525;
- Ward 4, Erin Buss, 486;
- Wards 1-2, Dean Hove, 1,086;
- Ward 3-4, Evan Brown, 1,011;
- At-large, Laurel Stinson, 2,097.
If enough signatures are verified, according to the city charter, "the clerical officer shall transmit it to the Council without delay and shall also officially notify the person sought to be recalled of the sufficiency of the petition and of the pending action. The Council shall, at its next meeting, by resolution provide for filing dates and other provisions necessary for the holding of a special recall election" not less than 45 days later or more than 60 days, unless another election is already scheduled within 90 days.
The Post Bulletin reached out to both City Council President Becky Norton and City Administrator Kay Kuhlman Sunday night but neither responded in time for deadline.
Hintz said he believes the council will do whatever it can to avoid a recall.
"So, in the future, I see a court case," Hintz said. "But the people are ready for a change."
Hintz said canvassers reported that at least half the people met face-to-face – not counting homes where canvassers did not find anyone at home – ended up signing the petitions.
"Some would say they were not interested," Hintz said. "Others would say 'We were waiting for you.'"
Over the weekend, the popup signing events proved to be a tremendous success, Hintz said.
"We were out on Old West Main, in front of hardware store and the auto repair," he said. "People were very receptive."