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Recall Petition of two commissioners and sheriff

March 5, 2014 by

A petition has been filed with the Lake County Clerk’s Office by Lakeview resident Orlando Gonzales for the recall of Lake County commissioners Dan Shoun and Brad Winters, along with Lake County Sheriff Phil McDonald.

Each of the three petitions requires a total of 470 signatures, which must be returned to the Lake County Clerk’s Office no later than Monday, May 19, by 5 p.m.

Asked why Commissioner Ken Kestner wasn’t included in the recall request, Gonzales said if the recall succeeds, there would be a need for continuity on the Board of Commissioners until replacements were appointed.

The biggest concern behind the recall, Gonzales said, is an opinion that Shoun, Winters and McDonald have lost sight of the public that voted them into office.

He also said that he felt there’s been a lack of communication with regard to questions he’s presented before the board.

The new security system upgrade to the courthouse facility is an example that Gonzales cited, claiming that he was refused access to the contract with the project’s firm approved by the Board of Commissioners.

Gonzales also has questions on the overall costs related to this same project.

“I think people would like to know how that contract was awarded,” he said.

Other concerns Gonzales has relate to fiscal transparency and financial management, and the County’s decision-making process.

Other issues raised include those related to public safety in regards to a Lake County Sheriff’s Department deputy, Gonzales said.

Health and safety concerns for inmates of the Lake County Jail along with claims of fiscal irresponsibility are included in Gonzales’ grievances against the sheriff.

Commissioners Dan Shoun and Brad Winters responded to the petition in a Feb. 27 Herald and News story.

Commissioner Shoun said allegations raised by Gonzales are “absolutely false,” and expressed surprise at the accusations raised against the three public officials.

Despite what he described as numerousinvitations to meet and discuss issues personally, Shoun said that Gonzales has never taken him up on his offer.

“He’s never talked to me, ever,” he said, as quoted by the Herald and News.  “I have tremendous confidence our citizens will see through his smoke and mirrors tactics.”

Commissioner Winters said that the County’s fiscal expenditures operate with complete transparency, and the accounts payable department is annually audited.

“The County budget is transparent, and of public record,” he said, as quoted by the Herald and News story. “If you have a specific expenditure in question please bring it forward, and I will address it…”

In response to Gonzales’ claims, Sheriff Phil McDonald said that the jail remains a major priority, with specific safety rules and other realms of compliance by which his department must abide.  A nurse practitioner regularly visits the facility for health care related services, he said.

“We provide for their health, and we also provide for their safety,” he said.

The sheriff admitted having gone over budget in years past, but emphasized that there have been a number of years in which he operated under his prepared budget.

McDonald also said accusations of misconduct by specific officers are untrue.

“I provide for Lake County’s public safety every day,” he said. “I will only (offer) one promise, and that’s to do the best I can with what I’m given.”

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