The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

October 17, 2013

City officials haven’t been forthcoming about election date

ENID, Okla. — A vote allowing Enid’s city workers to unionize will be on the Nov. 12 ballot after all, but officials have been less than forthcoming about the date.

If the resolution approved by the city commission had passed in September with an intact emergency clause, it would have gone into effect immediately and city staff already could have notified Garfield County Election Board of the decision.

The emergency clause failed, however.

At the time, city staff said the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employee’s petition to organize into a collective bargaining unit instead would have to wait until the next regular election in 2014.

Instead of waiting 30 days, the city went ahead and filed the resolution on Sept. 9, the Monday following the commission meeting.

On Sept. 10, City Attorney Andrea Chism said the city wouldn’t necessarily have to take any more public action before a supposed January or February vote.

Chism said last week it still was her understanding that the vote wouldn’t happen until next year, “because our resolution wasn’t in force for 30 days.”

But sometime the situation changed.

“They may have decided to go ahead and call the election,” she said. “They certainly had plenty of time, even though the resolution wasn’t technically in force until 30 days after it had passed.”

We’re disappointed in the handling of this non-announcement, and we wish the city had notified the public of the surprising change of plans.

At some point, City Hall realized the election would be Nov. 12, even though the city attorney suggested it wouldn’t.

We’re disappointed by the confusion. This lack of clarity doesn’t foster goodwill or confidence in city government.

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