Proposed Charter Commission Ballot MOUNT VERNON CITY
* * *
|Todd M. Hawkins||1,440||6.60%|
|Michael P. Hillier||1,225||5.62%|
|Kenneth R. Reynolds||1,218||5.58%|
|Jeffry D. Harris||1,062||4.87%|
|Kathleen M. Hursh||1,044||4.79%|
|Julia M. Warga||1,002||4.59%|
|Jody L. Pritchard||963||4.42%|
|Tanner S. Salyers||813||3.73%|
MOUNT VERNON — There was no suspense on the charter commission issue in Tuesday’s election. The vote against forming a charter commission jumped to a 2-1 lead when the absentee and early voting ballots were counted, then maintained that edge throughout the evening.
The final unofficial vote was 3,318 against creating a charter commission, and 1,677 in favor, a margin of 66.43 percent to 33.57 percent.
Dennis Swingle, who led the anti-charter group, Citizens for Responsive Government, issued the statement: “The Citizens for Responsive City Government campaign would like to express our appreciation to all the citizens who supported our efforts to defeat the city charter issue, especially with signs, comments on Facebook and by voting. We feel we were able to educate and inform people about what a charter is. No one can say what touched each voter to vote the way they did, but the common thread we saw was the voters’ recognition that a charter form of government often takes power away from the citizens, and the government structure we have already gives us ‘home rule.’”
When she heard the results, council member Nancy Vail, who was one of two City Council members to vote against placing the issue on the ballot, said she was “glad to hear it,” and that she was “proud of our citizens and community; I’m proud to be a citizen of Mount Vernon.”
Mount Vernon residents, she said, are capable of evaluating the issues and making decisions.
Mayor Richard Mavis said he was disappointed, but not surprised, that the issue lost.
“I thought the supporters made a strong effort to educate the voters, but maybe they needed more time to deliver the message that this was an opportunity to form our own constitution,” he said.
He said one of the reasons voters didn’t support the measure was because there hasn’t been a lot of controversy in the city, so it was difficult for them to see the need to change.
Councilman Matt Starr, who voted to place the measure on the ballot, said “I was hoping it would win. It was the first time since 1963 the idea was brought before the voters.
“The voters have spoken and we have to respect that,” he added.
However, he thinks the issue will resurface in the future.
Former Councilman Jeff Gottke, who also supported placing the issue on the ballot, said he was disappointed.
“We had the opportunity to craft a future for the city, but we missed the opportunity,” he said.
Clint Bailey, who chaired the committee supporting formation of a charter commission, declined a request to speak about the election results.
All results are unofficial until certified.