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Recall petition circulated against Lincoln mayor

A group of petitioners is aiming to recall Lincoln Mayor Bob Johnston from office.

Lee Ann Oliver, elections officer at the North Dakota Secretary of State's Office, said a recall form was approved Tuesday for a seven-member committee that applied for the petition.

Organizers cited credibility, misuse of his position and handling of city funds as the reason the recall.

"He doesn't want to work with the City Council at all," said Jon Aman of the recall committee. "He keeps vetoing all of the council members. He's got a power issue. We've got growing pains in the city. If we don't catch up with it, it's going to hurt us in the long run." 

Lincoln city council members bristled in early October when the mayor vetoed their decision to make water drainage issue repairs in the city.

The mayor also vetoed council member Toni Zainhofsky's motion in January to allow council members to override a mayor's veto with a two-thirds council vote.

The controversy prompted local lawmakers to sponsor House Bill 1245 in the North Dakota State Legislature, which would allow city council members to override a mayoral veto resolutions. 

City auditor Roberta Unterseher could not be reached for comment at the Lincoln City Hall Friday, and the office was closed before noon.

Johnston declined comment on Friday.

Committee members must collect at least 25 percent of the total votes cast in the June 2012 Lincoln election, according to Oliver, who said petitioners have 90 days to collect the signatures.

The petition must be turned into the city auditor's office by the end of the business day on May 4.

If a recall election is called after signatures are verified by the auditor, the mayor also has the option to resign within 10 days, Oliver said. Otherwise, the mayor will automatically be placed on the recall election ballot.

The city auditor must call the special election within 90 to 100 days after the signatures are verified, according to Oliver. Candidates filing for a recall election must file by 4 p.m. 64 days before a recall election.

(Reach LeAnn Eckroth at 701-250-8264 or


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