Morgan County Voters Recall County Councilman

Morgan County Voters Recall County Councilman

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Recalls aren't just for California anymore.

In a move unprecedented in Utah, Morgan County voters recalled a county councilman on Tuesday. A measure to oust Clayton Wilkinson amid conflict-of-interest allegations passed 198-140.

The recall is the first of its kind in Utah, said state elections director Amy Naccarato.

Nearly 160 people signed a recall petition alleging Wilkinson participated in "illegal and unethical" conduct, said Morgan County Clerk/Auditor Stacy Lafitte.

Members of the Morgan County Planning Commission alleged Wilkinson abused his power by catering to developers. Three planning commissioners resigned in October in protest.

The county's recall charter requires signatures from 15 percent of the number of voters who participated in the last gubernatorial election -- 111 in this case -- before a recall can go forward.

State law does not allow recall elections, but Morgan County voters passed a recall provision in 1997 when they changed the county's form of government. The three-member County Commission was replaced with a seven-member, nonpartisan County Council.

However, finding a council member replacement is another issue.

Naccarato said Morgan County's recall provision does not specify how to replace a one in the event of a recall.

"Everything in state law that dictates how you fill a vacancy deals with alerting the political party that that person belongs to," Naccarato said. "That's a little bit of a problem here because they are all nonpartisan offices."

The only other recall election in the state was in 1994, when Grand County voters rejected the recall of six of the County Council's seven members.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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