Generally, we’re not fans of recall elections.
For those who don’t spend all their time paying attention to politics (in other words, happy, healthy people), a recall is the effort to oust an elected official.
Recalls are supposed to be used when an elected official has been found to be malfeasant in his or her duty, such as repeatedly ignoring the will of the voters and making decisions that do not benefit the public at large but a select group.
It should be noted that conviction of criminal activity — such as accepting bribes — can result in forfeiture of office without the need for recall.
We bring all this up because a group has taken out the paperwork to recall an elected official at the county level — the clerk of the Superior Court.
We’ve never understood why the clerk of the court is an elected position. That person, like a city clerk or county Board of Supervisors’ secretary, is there to ensure that things run smoothly and efficiently. It’s a position that requires consistency and longevity, something that may not occur when the job comes up for re-election every four years.
But we digress . . .
The group that pulled the recall paperwork cited the high turnover rate of employees in the clerk’s office since the clerk took office and claim the clerk, Cindy Woodman, has created a “toxic” work environment. They also cite a recent court ruling that the clerk mishandled evidence and a “lack of basic knowledge of court procedures.”
The local Republican Party’s chairman claims the recall effort is being driven by Democrats’ unhappiness with losing the race in 2018 and that Dems want “another bite at the apple.”
The turnover rate and court ruling are indisputable, but the other reasons for the recall are open to interpretation, so the GOP head could be correct or he may not — that’s up to the voter.
As we stated above, we generally frown on recall elections. That’s because the recalls we’ve covered in other parts of the state damaged those communities. Recalls stop progress and give an impression of instability about the area that turns off entrepreneurs and businesses that might be considering relocating to the area. They tend to think — rightly — that the area is too unpredictable and, thus, not worthy of significant investment.
Courts are, of course, different from city councils and boards of supervisors. So there may not be the impact from this recall that we saw in those others, should organizers gather enough qualified signatures to qualify for an election. We can’t imagine the soon-to-be-arriving Jack in the Box owners terribly concerned about whether the clerk of the court is being recalled, but one never knows.
What we do know is that people who deal with the local court on a regular basis are not happy with everything surrounding the clerk’s office at this time — on either side of the recall question — and that’s not helpful when it comes to smoothly conducting court business.
Graham County and its communities, business sector and educational facilities are moving forward with a number of initiatives to improve quality of life in the area. The last thing we need is a distraction, even if it’s something as off the beaten electoral path as the clerk of the court.
We hope organizers either gather enough signatures to qualify for a recall election without challenge and get this issue decided once and for all, or opt to do nothing and seek redress at the regular election in 2022.
This brouhaha over the clerk of the court needs to come to as swift a conclusion as possible.