Four Port Angeles City Council members facing recall petition

Superior Court to determine whether charges are sufficient

PORT ANGELES — Recall petitions have been filed against four Port Angeles City Council members alleging they are not eligible for office because they are members of an international organization and have not posted an international bond.

John Worthington of Sequim filed the petitions with the Clallam County Auditor’s Office on May 24 in an attempt to recall city council members Kate Dexter, Navarra Carr, Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin and LaTrisha Suggs.

The city council approved in four separate unanimous votes Tuesday night the expenditure of city funds to cover legal expenses related to the defense of the recall petitions.

Dexter, Carr and Schromen-Wawrin all recused themselves from the vote when motions were made in their individual cases. Suggs was not in attendance Tuesday due to an excused absence.

“This is the charade that happens when the democratic process is attacked by right-wing wackadoodles, and that’s what’s happening here,” Schromen-Wawrin said Tuesday prior to a vote.

The petition alleges the council members are part of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and its Local Governments of Sustainability program, a network of more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable development, according to www.iclei.org.

The city of Port Angeles and Jefferson County both have been members of the organization since 2019. Clallam County ended its membership in 2011 after it joined in 2007.

The petitions say the council members should be recalled because an ICLEI agreement is a conflict of interest with their oaths of office. They also say working for the foreign organization voluntarily gives up their American nationality and would make them ineligible for office.

“By joining and functioning under the ICLEI charter, Dexter violated RCW 29A.04.133 (3) and failed to uphold her oath of office to the United States,” one petition reads.

“By joining and functioning under the ICLEI charter, Dexter violated the Doctrine of Incompatible Offices,” it continues.

The charges are similar for all four city council members.

Once the documents were filed in the Clallam County Auditor’s office, they were forwarded to the prosecuting attorney’s office, Auditor Shoona Riggs said.

Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols said his office will draft a ballot synopsis of 200 words or less, certify the charges and synopsis with Clallam County Superior Court and then petition the court for approval of the synopsis and for a determination of whether or not the charges are sufficient.

“After the petition is filed, the Superior Court makes two determinations: (1) whether the acts stated in the charges satisfy the criteria for which a recall petition may be filed (in other words, whether the charges are sufficient); and (2) whether the ballot synopsis is adequate,” Nichols wrote in an email Thursday. “The recall proponent and the officer who is subject to recall may appear before the Court.”

Once the petition is filed with the court, the prosecuting attorney’s office will not advocate for either side, Nichols said.

“After the filing of the petition the matter essentially becomes a dispute between the recall proponent and the officer subject to recall,” he said.

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Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-417-3521 or by email at brian.mclean@peninsuladailynews.com.

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