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Impound opponent ends fight

Invalid signatures will not be challenged

WARREN — Councilman Ken MacPherson will not challenge decisions by the city auditor and the Trumbull County Board of Elections to invalidate nearly half of the 1,700 signatures collected opposing an effort to build a city-owed impound lot.

The elections board last month reported that only 897 of the signatures collected were valid. MacPherson needed to collect 1,106 valid signatures to get the referendum on the ballot against council legislation that would give the city administration the authority to seek bids to build the impound lot.

City Auditor Vincent Flask on Friday supported not putting the referendum on the ballot because of the lack of valid signatures.

MacPherson called the campaign to collect the signatures “Let the Voters Decide in November.” He noted he had less than 30 days during the height of the state’s shutdown due to the spread of COVID-19 to collect the necessary signatures.

“Not lightly is the decision made to not challenge the petitions for the referendum,” MacPherson said. “Instead, I am going to take the energy, efforts and lessons learned from this action and focus moving forward on a charter government movement to fundamentally change the way the city is operated.”

He added: “Charter government can provide a city council that is responsible to the taxpayers for employees who wrongly work a family businesses whilst on the city clock, to an organization that is held accountable for the safety of our citizens in their homes and neighborhoods.”

Councilman Greg Greathouse, D-3rd Ward, who with Councilman John Brown, D-at Large, filed a formal complaint against MacPherson’s petitions to the elections board, said he’s not surprised MacPherson is throwing in the towel.

“This political stunt cost the police department at least two police cruisers due to the three-month delay in getting the bids for the impound lot and its construction,” Greathouse said. “Maybe he owes the police department an apology for this action.”

Impound lot fees would help support police department finances.

Brown added that less than 900 of the signatures on the petitions were deemed to be legitimate.

“The petitions are fraught with fake, forged and fraudulent signatures,” Brown said. “There were literally hundreds of bad signatures.”

Brown emphasized that he did not and does not have a problem with the issue being placed on the ballot but said the process should have been done correctly.

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