Paradise sewer opponents seek ouster of board members
| February 18, 2021 12:00 AM
Paradise resident Cody Lampman has organized and submitted paperwork to Sanders County Elections Administrator Nichol Scribner for the recall of two Paradise Sewer Board Directors.
According to information from Katy French, a Paradise property owner, the petitions for recall have been approved by Scribner, and the collection of signatures for these recall efforts have begun.
In two separate petition efforts being conducted simultaneously, directors Sunny Chase and Rick McCollum are targeted for recall by Cody Lampman.
Within the petitions, Lampman asserts that the individual directors have violated their oaths of office to uphold the Montana Constitution and the laws of the State of Montana.
Specifically, Article II, Section 9, depriving citizens of the right to examine documents or to observe deliberations of all public bodies; and Article II, Section 8, in that the public has a right to expect government agencies to afford reasonable opportunity for citizen participation in the operation of agency activities.
These rights listed within the Montana Constitution are codified in state law.
Individual directors of the board have admitted to holding meetings in private homes, according to French. French said Paradise Sewer Board members have also admitted that they held meetings that were not properly noticed, meetings in which prepared and posted agendas were not available to the public prior to the meetings, and have shown that they have not properly memorialized the actions of the Paradise Board Meetings with minutes for the past four years.
In addition, these directors have delayed or refused to provide documents for review by the public.
The Paradise community is facing the planning and construction of the largest infrastructure project it has ever known, according to French.
When asked what the impetus to the recall effort was, Lampman
responded, “The community has not been given the opportunity to engage in this process and provide input as it should have. Our citizen’s rights have been violated. All decisions that have been made behind closed doors by this board must be revisited in the full light of public access.”
Once signature collection is complete, Sanders County can schedule a recall election.
Lampman hopes the directors choose to resign, foregoing the cost of this election on a community heavily hit by the economic downturn of COVID restrictions.