Angry over the assessment of controversial storm water fees and the $64,000 golden parachute given to outgoing city manager Larry Shaffer, Robert Tulloch is seeking to get recalls of Mayor Marty Griffin and three of his allies on the city council on next year’s ballot.
Because he is not a Jackson resident, however, the state’s Bureau of Elections has told Tulloch that his efforts cannot go forward in their current form.
Undaunted, Tulloch said he is considering whether to file suit in state or federal court against the elections bureau, and said he may also seek out Jackson residents to put forward the proposed initiatives in his stead.
If the elections bureau approves the ballot language, the next step would be gathering hundreds of signatures throughout Jackson, including in each of the three affected city council districts.
“This is small-town, good-old-boy politics at its finest,” said Tulloch. “We need a new set of council people in there to clean this up. And not people with special interests.”
Tulloch, who is president of the Jackson Area Landlords Association, said he was initially a supporter of Griffin and the three councilmembers, going so far as to publicly endorse them in their races in 2011. But when they went against their campaign promises to eliminate the storm water fees introduced by the outgoing council—they eventually voted to reduce them—Tulloch grew embittered.
Tulloch says each of his two rental properties in Jackson is assessed $8 in storm water fees every three months. He says he has not paid the fees, as he believes they are illegitimate.
Jackson County and two local business owners have filed suit against the city over the storm water fees, arguing they are a tax and are therefore under the state constitution subject to voter approval. That case is pending.
Tulloch is also upset over the handling of former city manager Larry Shaffer’s departure. The three council members Tulloch is seeking to recall met privately with Shaffer days before his resignation in July, offering him the $64,000 severance package.
Jackson Independent Monitor publisher Phil Curtis is suing the City Council over that meeting, arguing it violated the state’s public meetings laws. That case is pending.