Voters reject city council recall campaign

Robert Smith

Pawhuska generated a strong voter turnout for last week’s council recall election, and the result was clear. Roughly two-thirds of voters preferred to keep four current city councilors in office rather than removing them.

The issue in the election was whether voters desired to remove any or all of four members of the Pawhuska City Council. The councilors whose seats were on the ballot were John Brazee, Mark Buchanan, Rodger Milleson and Roger Taylor. A “yes” vote was a vote to remove a councilor, while a “no” vote was a vote to keep the councilor.

Voters decided not to replace Taylor by a count of 392 to 193. They decided not to replace Milleson by a count of 397 to 188, not to replace Buchanan by 369 to 202, and not to replace Brazee by 407 to 178.

A total of 585 votes were case in regard to Brazee, Milleson and Taylor; 571 votes were cast with regard to Buchanan.

The Pawhuska City Council consists of five elected members. Four of the five were on the ballot Oct. 8. Jourdan Foran, the new Ward 2 councilor, had not been on the council long enough to be recalled.

Former Ward 2 Councilor Steve Holcombe, who was defeated in April in his re-election bid, became a key proponent of the recall of the other councilors. Holcombe argued that the councilors lacked vision for the future of the city, and that they were insufficiently committed to open government.

Voters either didn’t buy the arguments or didn’t think a mass recall was an appropriate tool.

“I’m glad it’s over but it was a waste of money,” a smiling Roger Taylor said on election night.

John Brazee said he thought the will of the public had been determined.

“They were wanting the people’s voices to be heard and they were heard,” he said. Brazee said he thought the recall election stemmed from misinformation.

“I’m not mad at any of them,” he said. “I just think they were misled.”

Brazee noted that he keeps a copy of the city code book handy, and he encourages citizens to come see him if they have questions.

“It came out pretty good in the election,” Milleson said, adding that he thought Holcombe hurt his cause by going on television. That helped bring out voters against the recall, he said.