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400 signatures for Indian Hills recall effort

by Christy Chalmers

Indian Hills residents may be voting on whether to keep three of their leaders in office as early as mid-July.

Backers of an effort to recall three Indian Hills General Improvement District trustees submitted their petitions Monday to Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer Barbara Reed. The recall promoters had filed notice exactly three weeks earlier that they would try to recall trustees Joanne Riekenberg, Renee Haskell and Dick Fairfax.

“I think there’s an awful lot of residents here that are getting sick of what’s going on,” said Art Baer, one of the organizers, when asked about the group’s quick signature-gathering effort.

The recall group says the trustees are making poor decisions that expose the district to lawsuits and have also accused them of ignoring the constituents’ opinions on building a community center and district office complex.

The trustees say they want to ensure all options are addressed so they don’t overextend the district financially or raise any costs for district residents.

While Baer said he thinks the targeted trustees should resign, Haskell, whose current term expires in December, is not intimidated by the recall effort. She filed for another four years Monday.

“There’s a lot of inaccurate information, a lot of misinformation that’s flying around,” said Haskell. “Hopefully, we can get it all straightened out.”

She will be competing with fellow board member Ron Kruse and recall organizer Rhonda Pascoe for the two GID seats open in the November election. The other recall subjects, Riekenberg and Fairfax, were elected in 1998. Their terms expire in 2002.

Reed said GID leaders are chosen at large, which means the two top vote-getters will get the open seats.

Baer and Rhonda Pascoe were joined in filing the recall documents by Betty Stellway, Richard Horn and Ken Pascoe. Reed said the group gathered 398 signatures favoring a recall of Fairfax and 401 each for Haskell and Riekenberg.

To proceed with a recall election, 254 of the signatures on the Fairfax and Riekenberg petitions and 236 on the Haskell petition must belong to people who voted in the last election, Reed said. She will verify each signature on the petitions and expects to be finished by June 2.

By law, the recall group had 60 days to gather the signatures. With their quick turnaround, Reed said a recall poll could be held as early as mid-July. But she also noted she’s busy with other election business, including a special election for the Cave Rock general improvement district, and getting ballots printed could be a challenge because the printing company serves jurisdictions all over the country.

If the recall election proceeds, Reed said each trustee can write a 200-word defense for staying in office.