PARKERSBURG -Tea party officials have petitions out, hoping to gain enough signatures to force a recall of some elected city officials.
Tea party President Sandy Staats said the group has hundreds of petitions out, seeking to force a recall vote of the mayor and five members of city council who approved the $2.50-a-week user fee.
"We have several area businesses taking signatures," she said. "Some are going door-to-door, collecting signatures."
The Parkersburg Tea Party has hundreds of petitions out, seeking a recall vote of the mayor and five members of city council who approved the $2.50-a-week user fee, according to president Sandy Staats. (Photo by Jody Murphy)
Ray Sams, a Seventh Street barbershop owner, has a petition in his shop. He contacted the tea party more than week ago about obtaining a petition for his business.
Sams is not a member of the tea party.
"I'm simply collecting signatures on behalf of my customers who expressed interest," he said.
Sams said "99.9 percent" of his customers were against the user fee "as it stood." Sams said many of customers felt it was unfair to part-time and minimum wage workers who were subject to the fee. Though he understands any such exemptions in the user fee are illegal.
"I wish they'd have come up with something else," he said.
Sams is also aware of the estimated costs of a special election, as well as the fact any newly seated officials would only serve about a year, before standing for re-election.
"I worry about the costs, but I feel it is an important lessen to officeholders before they make decisions against the consensus of the public."
Joe Backus, a recall supporter, said petitions are also located at Rubin's Deli and Rax restaurant.
The tea party needs the signatures of 20 percent of the almost 19,000 qualified registered voters in the city. That's about 3,790 signatures, according to City Clerk Connie Shaffer.
Staats does not yet know how many signatures the group has collected. Backus said organizers are shooting for 4,000 signatures.
Sams said he has about 100 signatures so far and many more who want to sign.
"They can't sign because they live in Ohio or outside the city limits," he said.
In addition to the petitions, Staats said the group expects to put up a billboard this week and launch a "recall mobile" traveling to various destinations to collect signatures.
City officials maintain the tea party has 30 days to collect signatures for a recall petition - a window the group disputes - however, Staats said organizers will try to meet the Feb. 14, deadline to initiate a recall vote. Staats said if they do not meet the deadline, they will challenge the timeline in court.