All Politics is Local

Effort to overturn council rules falls flat

Christian Berrigan

Christian Berrigan

Clark County council’s rules of procedure are here to stay.

Cathie Garber, Clark County elections supervisor tells The Columbian that Clark County Republican Party State Committeeman Christian Berrigan failed to turn in enough signatures to force a referendum on the council’s new rules of procedure by yesterday’s 5 p.m. deadline.

In May, the county council adopted new rules of procedure and a code of ethics, an arcane set of procedures that governs how the legislative branch of county government functions. Critics of the new rules, like Berrigan, objected to a provision in the rules that allowed a majority of councilors to suspend the rules. Berrigan said that these rules would allow councilors, drunk on power, to make up rules as they go along and tyrannize their dissenting colleagues.

Under the county’s Home Rule Charter, a citizen can temporarily suspend an ordinance if they turn in signatures from 100 registered voters. Berrigan turned in over 223 petitions in May, triggering a process where he had 120 days to to come up with signatures equal to 10 percent of the total votes cast in the county in the last gubernatorial election to force a referendum on the offending ordinance.

However, it appears that Berrigan, strangely enough, couldn’t get enough people interested enough in the council’s rules to sign off.