Daryl Sallaz and a couple of his friends are going door to door, looking for people interested in ousting Mike Vuittonet and urging them to sign a petition.
Vuittonet (pronounced we-toe-NAY), former West Ada Superintendent Christine Donnell and former trustee Reid Olsen are marshaling a group of about 70 people fanning over the zones of four other trustees, hoping they’ll take on petitions or at least make phone calls pitching their case, to help recall the remainder of West Ada’s school board.
All the while, the clock is ticking on a not-far-off deadline for both sides to get their recalls on the March 8 ballot.
Recall fever began spreading in September across West Ada, the state’s largest school district, when trustees moved to knock a year off of former Superintendent Linda Clark’s three-year contract. The newly seated board said the previous board, chaired by Vuittonet, approved the contract in a June 23 meeting that violated the state open meetings law.
Clark subsequently resigned. The board rejected her resignation and fired her earlier this month.
Donnell called for a recall of four trustees who supported the contract change: board chair Tina Dean, Carol Sayles, Julie Madsen and Russell Joki.
Donnell criticized the board’s handling of Clark’s contract as a “travesty.” Fellow critics also complained about board transparency and fiscal responsibility.
Shortly after Donnell announced her intention to launch a recall effort, Sallaz launched his own effort, complaining about Vuittonet’s handling of Clark’s contract, among other issues.
Sallaz said he’s gathered only five or six signatures and doesn’t know how many his friends have gathered. He said he has had one negative response.
“One person was opposed to my game plan,” he said. “A lot of people don’t give a damn.”
Each side has to collect hundreds of signatures. Phil McGrane, Ada County chief deputy clerk, says he would need them by Dec. 11 — just three weeks away — if he is going to meet his schedule to get recalls on the March election.
And just getting petitions isn’t enough.
Once the signatures are verified — that must be done within 15 days of turning in the petitions — each trustee subject to recall gets five days to resign.
After that, the county is allotting two to three days for the trustees to call for the election (in this case, they could be calling it on their entire board) and another two to three days for each trustee facing recall to submit a 200-word defense. That means McGrane said he needs the language for the ballot by Jan 18.
Donnell said her side originally aimed for the March ballot but no decision has been made. The recall group will meet to consider options next week.
Sallaz, a former Fairmont Junior High teacher in the Boise School District, said he was not aware of the tight deadline.
The March ballot is expected to have Idaho’s Republican presidential primary; the May ballot will be the primary for legislators, county prosecutors and sheriffs. Two primaries for Ada County Commission also will be on the ballot.
Idaho has four general elections, in March, May, August and November.
West Ada recall efforts
Petitions from each of the five zones must have signatures from registered voters equal to half the people who voted in the trustees’ last election.