Eagle County voters might try again to oust commissioner | AspenTimes.com

Eagle County voters might try again to oust commissioner

Melanie WongVail correspondentAspen, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY Arn Menconi will keep his seat at the head of the Eagle County commissioners for at least the rest of the year. Petitioners missed the deadline to submit the signatures necessary for an election late this year to recall Menconi, but that does not mean the effort is over, said recall leader Mike Reid.The Committee to Recall Arn Menconi needed to turn in 4,367 signatures by Tuesday to send the issue to voters in 2007. The committee had been aiming to get 6,000 signatures, petitioning around the Vail Valley at various community events.”Our grass-roots, citizens attempt to get the targeted 6,000 signatures during this time limit came up short. Therefore, there will be no election scheduled to vote on removing Menconi – yet,” Reid wrote in a letter Tuesday afternoon to the Vail Daily.Petitioners say one of the main reasons for recall is that they believe Menconi misuses taxpayer money and “believes only his agenda matters, not voters’ desires.” Menconi started a $1.5 million early-childhood development program, even though the public had voted down a larger-scale version of the program, petitioners said.But Menconi said he does not think the recall effort is about the program. It is about hurting him if he decides to run for Eagle County’s state Senate seat in 2008, he said.”This isn’t about the issue. This is political,” he said.Menconi is a Democrat first elected in 2000. His second term ends in January 2009, and he is term-limited from running again. Law says officials cannot be recalled within six months of the end of their term.But recallers said they do not want to wait that long and will continue gathering signatures for a special election with the help of a professional petition company. A state law about petition circulation recently changed to allow the committee to hire a company.Previously, the law allowed only registered Eagle County voters to carry such petitions, but now petition carriers only have to be state residents, U.S. citizens, and older than 18, said Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Teak Simonton.”It’s less restrictive about who can be a petition circulator,” she said. A special recall election would cost more than $35,000.”We can begin another recall effort tomorrow, next week, or next month, to bring about a recall vote of Commissioner Menconi. With the help of a professional, full-time signature company, we can be successful,” Reid wrote.As of Sept. 12 the committee had more than $6,000 in contributions, according to the Colorado Secretary of State Elections Center.Reid did not respond to e-mails requesting comment on Tuesday.