Clark-Endicott, stepping down, criticizes recall petitioners
Krisanna Clark-Endicott had some sharp words for opponents who sought to recall her from office in her message to Sherwood residents as she resigned as mayor Monday, Oct. 2.
Clark-Endicott submitted a written letter of resignation to the city recorder shortly before 5 p.m., serving out almost half of her second term as Sherwood's mayor.
The former mayor sent out a press release saying she and her two children were leaving to relocate to Redmond where her new husband, Redmond Mayor George Endicott, currently resides.
"It has been my great pleasure to serve the citizens of the city of Sherwood and message that 'you can disagree without being disagreeable,'" Clark-Endicott wrote.
Clark-Endicott was one of three members of the Sherwood City Council targeted for recall.
In her resignation press release, Clark-Endicott called the recall push an effort by a "disgruntled group representing a vocal minority in Sherwood" who turned in the 1,027 validated signatures needed to force the recall. She noted that Sherwood has a voter roll of more than 12,220 residents.
"When you ask hard questions and challenge the status quo, you are going to get rocks thrown in your direction," wrote Clark-Endicott. "Progress requires risk, and when you come out of the refiner's fire you are stronger as an individual, a city and a community. I will never stop asking the hard questions."
James Copfer, chief petitioner behind the recall effort, released a statement stating Clark-Endicott's resignation had accomplished "part of (the petitioners') objectives."
"We appreciate Mayor Clark-Endicott's decision to resign, and wish her well in her new life," the press release, which was posted to Facebook, read in part. "We thank her for the past six years of service to our community, and for choosing to spare the city the pain and expense of a recall election."
Recall still on for Harris, Robinson
At the same time, Councilors Jennifer Harris and Sally Robinson, also the subjects of a recall vote, responded with "statements of justification," short documents describing why they shouldn't be recalled. An election will be held Oct. 17 to decide whether they will remain on the City Council.
Copfer confirmed he will continue to seek the councilors' recall from office.
"Harris and Robinson continue to push their agenda in opposition to the will of the people," he stated in his press release.
The recall election of the mayor and two city councilors was sparked in large part by their support of the Minneapolis-based HealthFitness's bid to run the city's recreation center. Among multiple bidders, including the YMCA of Columbia-Willamette, they ranked the company as best-suited to take over services the YMCA has provided for more than 20 years.
Among the major allegations listed in the recall petition language against the three is a charge that they failed in their fiduciary responsibilities by supporting HealthFitness, a company that projected twice that it would lose money the first five years. Later, the company told the council it would make money after it recalculated figures on how the YMCA determines its membership fees. Nervous about the new projections, city staff recommended last Tuesday not signing a contract with HealthFitness.
That action was followed by a council motion to sign a contract with HealthFitness, which the council voted down 4-2. While Clark-Endicott was among those who voted to turn down the contract, Robinson and Harris voted in support of moving forward with it. (Harris later said she had meant to vote the contract down as well, noting that she is usually supportive of recommendations of city staff.)
Both Harris and Robinson have said in their statements of justification that they have acted fiscally responsible.
Robinson wrote: "This recall is NOT about fiscal responsibility or ethical violations. It is based on a personal vendetta against three councilors who voted against the YMCA and its supporters. I have not acted unethically, nor have I 'abused' anyone."
Harris too said she has done nothing to warrant a recall.
"I'm fighting this recall because I know that I have served Sherwood with honor and integrity," she wrote. "It's disheartening that all of the positive things happening in Sherwood have been overshadowed by this one issue regarding the YMCA."
Joe Gall, Sherwood's city manager, said he is ready to engage in contract talks with the YMCA, the second-ranked choice to provide recreation services for the city. Tentative plans are to begin those talks on Oct. 15, giving Gall until Nov. 15 to see if an agreement between the city and the YMCA can be made.
Mayoral seat to be filled by special election
In late July, Clark-Endicott married George Endicott in a surprise wedding at the Oregon Mayors Association's end-of-summer conference. She said both she, her husband and two children made a unanimous decision to move to Redmond and her children are enrolled in Redmond schools.
Clark-Endicott listed the fact she was the first mayor of Sherwood to be elected to the League of Oregon Cities Board and was the sole female on the Washington County Coordinating Committee in her first term among her accomplishments.
"Sherwood's loss of Mayor Clark-Endicott is Central Oregon's gain," Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle was quoted as saying in Sherwood's press release. "She has been a huge asset to the City of Sherwood and will be greatly missed throughout Washington County."
Clark-Endicott's resignation reduces the Sherwood City Council from its typical seven members to just five. Councilor Dan King resigned over the summer, also for an out-of-city move.
On Tuesday, Oct. 3, City Manager Joe Gall suggested to the council that a special meeting be held next Tuesday, Oct. 10, to interview candidates for the council seat left vacant by King's resignation.
In addition, Gall said he would like the council to declare a vacancy for the mayor's seat, eventually having the council make an appointment since under city charter rules such an action is needed if there are at least 13 months left in the unexpired term.
Gall said an election would likely be held on March 13. Whoever is elected then will serve out Clark-Endicott's remaining term, which expires at the end of 2018.
As City Council president, Harris will run the meetings and set the agenda in the absence of a mayor. However, Gall clarified, she will not actually assume the title of mayor.
By Ray Pitz
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