DOUGLAS COUNTY — Voters want no change to the current commissioner system, having overwhelmingly shot down a home rule proposal Tuesday night.
According to unofficial results as of 9:35 p.m., 21,881 residents voted against the charter proposal or 76.35 percent. Only 6,776 residents supported the measure, or 23.65 percent.
The measure would have shifted from a three commissioner form of governance to one that's operated by a manager 60 days after Tuesday.
"Five nonpartisan, part-time commissioners will be elected each for a four-year term, by district, to govern (the) county as the policy board," according to the ballot document filed with County Clerk Patricia Hitt's office.
Chief Petitioner Doug Hockett could not be reached by deadline for comment.
The other chief petitioner was Suzanne Hall. However, a man who answered the phone at Hall's residence election night said she was no longer involved in the campaign because of family illness issues.
The measure also called for the part-time commissioners to be paid $250 per meeting not to go over $500 a month "with actual and necessary expenses reimbursed when incurred on county business, but not entitled to receive benefits or participate in county retirement systems," according to the ballot document.
Commissioners would have served eight years, after which they couldn't be eligible for appointment or election to any district until at least one election's passed "following the person's last term in office."
The sheriff, clerk, treasurer, assessor and surveyor would have continued as elected positions.
The anti-home rule group featured its own Facebook page, complete with various claims as to how the home rule charter would have impacted government. The specific group name is Protect Douglas County Public Safety and Jobs PAC.
- "Say no to backroom decisions out of the public eye."
- "Say no to county decisions being put in the hands of a highly paid county administrator and not elected county commissioners."
- "Say no to your gun rights being threatened."
- "Say no to crippling the sheriff's ability to do his job."
Another part of the Facebook page stated "Stop Extreme Environmentalists Vote No! On New Charter."
One citizen, Rob Price, posted "This is nothing more than a cloaked attempt at 'Socialized Reconstruction' of the County Government."
"It (the home rule charter proposal) takes power away from the voting public (elected commissioners) and it takes power away from the sheriff and gives it to a county administrator to use as they see fit," he wrote.
Another Facebook user added the following statement.
"After looking over the home rule idea, I realized that the five commissioner, one-per-district idea actually gives me less access to county-level government than I or you currently have," the author wrote.
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