CCRP Joins Unlikely Partner Opposing Gladstone Recall Effort

Posted on May 9, 2017 by rleblanc

From the Portland Tribune

May 8, 2017


In a May 3 letter to Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, the Clackamas County Republican Party Acting Chair Traci Hensley and the Democratic Party of Clackamas County Chair Peter Nordbye jointly condemned the recall of Johnson and Sieckmann and requested a state review of the petition for recall written by Bill Osburn, chief petitioner of the recall.

"Statements, information and claims within the petition for recall are false and opinions of Mr. Osburn," they wrote in the letter to Richardson. "Mr. Osburn was recently a candidate for Gladstone City Council, he should have a working understanding and knowledge of election laws, and know that he is in violation of ORS 260.532: No person shall publish false information."


Johnson is a registered Democrat; he switched from non-affiliated in 2008. Sieckmann was non-affiliated from 1988 until Jan. 28, 2016, when he switched to the Republican Party.


Debra Royal, Richardson's chief of staff, said that the complaint is being treated as a criminal matter and was referred to the Oregon Attorney General's Office.


In their written responses to Osburn's recall petitions claiming "illegal contracting," both Johnson and Sieckmann challenged the petitioner to produce evidence of even one contract that they alone approved. The councilors noted that city contracts are approved with a majority vote of council, so neither Johnson nor Sieckmann broke any laws.


Not only would the petition have to be proven false, but Osburn would have also had to publish it "with knowledge or with reckless disregard" of the truth to be convicted for obtaining election signatures based on false information. Osburn maintains the truth of "illegal contracting" based upon state contracting law that requires governmental agencies to seek competitive bids in various circumstances.


"There's very little open process, as the law encourages, before giving out these contracts for services," Osburn said. "When they're talking about awarding contracts, they very rarely talk about how they got bids from multiple sources. Anyone putting together a remedial flow chart would see how much money is being spent on contracts going into a single direction."

Osburn said he has no "smoking gun" involving a contract that was awarded illegally and only strongly suspects the city of illegal contracting. He said that his efforts of finding the "smoking gun" have been hampered by the city attempting to block his public-records requests. 


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