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Recall efforts underway for Brookings mayor, councilors

A recall petition against Ron Hedenskog is underway.
Erik Neumann
A recall petition against Brookings Mayor Ron Hedenskog and two city councilors is underway. Hedenskog can be seen above in a 2021 photo.

The effort was sparked by the reinstatement of City Manager Janell Howard after she was caught shoplifting.

Three committees have been formed to recall City Councilors Ed Schreiber and Michelle Morosky and Mayor Ron Hedenskog. The petitions were filed on Monday.

Dennis Triglia is the chief petitioner of the committee to recall Mayor Hedenskog. He said one reason for the recall is the local government is not listening to its constituents.

"The city council in Brookings typically will solicit public comments at their meetings. And generally, they will take comment from as many as 40 people at a meeting, and then choose to vote the opposite way that most of the people want. It's like they're not listening," he said.

The group says this recall effort was inspired by the reinstatement of City Manager Janell Howard in January. She had been caught shoplifting from a Fred Meyer last year and was placed on paid administrative leave.

Schreiber, Morosky and Hedenskog did not respond to a request for comment before deadline.

Debra Worth, the chief petitioner of the committee to recall Morosky, wrote in the recall statement, "The reputation of the city has been damaged and there is no confidence in the 3 members of the council who continue to kowtow to the city manager - a known thief."

Henry Cunningham, the chief petitioner of the committee to recall Schreiber, wrote in that petition, “Schreiber persuaded other councilors to vote for a permanent reinstatement of Howard ... he said that this would save the taxpayers money. This is untrue and defies the wishes of many voters."

Triglia wrote in the recall statement aimed at Hedenskog that he "has for months ignored statements from city employees, law enforcement officers, former and current City Councilors and the general public who do not want a chronic thief in charge of the City's finances."

Once the city recorder approves the three petitions, the group has 90 days to gather over 400 voter signatures for each recall petition. Then the issue would head to a special election for approval.

Triglia said he's optimistic about the success of the campaigns.

"I have gotten lots of calls of support and promises of people wanting to give money also. So it's working out very well," he said.

Jane Vaughan began her journalism career as a reporter for a community newspaper in Portland, Maine. She's been a producer at New Hampshire Public Radio and worked on WNYC's On The Media. Jane earned her Master's in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.