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Lake County continues nonpartisan discussion

Set up as a discussion topic by long time advocate Frank Vaughn, the Lake County Commissioners, during their regular meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 6, updated the public as to their current status on bringing before them a plan to remove partisanship from county positions.

Assisted by county legal counsel Jim Bailey, he laid out the two possible paths that they could take in order to proceed.

“First, you introduce a resolution to complete an ordinance and then go through a hearing process that would eventually place it on the ballot in November,” he said. He had previously looked into the possibility of placing it on the ballot in the spring, but as it is an off election year, November was seen to be the soonest it could be put before voters.

Bailey’s direction of drafting an ordinance brought immediate questions from Commissioner Dan Shoun. “Isn’t that a little presumptuous on our part,” he said. “Shouldn’t it go before the voters, first?” He felt that passing an ordinance and then placing it on the ballot to be approved felt heavy handed on the part of county leadership.

Bailey told him that it was subject to the approval of the voters and that the board was only starting the process. Once they had drafted the ordinance, it would then be subject to a hearing process. Bailey said they could have as many hearings as they wished to get the public reaction. “It’s analogous to getting enough signatures on a petition,” he said.

Bailey continued by saying that the other choice was to have the hearings first and then pass an ordinance which would be approved by voters in November.

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