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Coulee City mayor appealing recall

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Posted: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 9:00 am

EPHRATA — The Coulee City mayor is facing a recall petition effort, plans to appeal a Grant County Superior Court judge’s decision.

Mayor Rick Heiberg plans to file the appeal with the state Supreme Court by the end of the week, he said in an interview.

Judge John Knodell ruled two of the 11 accusations brought by former city council member Jennifer Schwartz rose to “the level of malfeasance, misfeasance or a violation of the oath of office,” if they did happen.

The offenses include purchasing a $15,000 truck without going through the bid process and the destruction of a packet of allegations after a city council meeting.

Heiberg admitted to purchasing the truck, saying he was unaware of the regulations, and denied destroying the packet, saying it was taken away from him.

“We believe we’ve been doing the right thing all along,” he said. “They’re the ones that decided to thwart the will of the people ... We believe we’re still on the right course. We believe the two remaining accusations are completely false.”

The mayor said earlier he was undecided whether he would wait for the election, or pursue the appeal. He decided on the appeal after reviewing the legal costs.

“Part of it is the fact of doing the right thing,” he said. “I feel like my name has been defiled and besmirched.”

Schwartz plans to file an objection to Heiberg’s appeal, saying he waited too long to file it. She argued the 14 days Heiberg had to appeal started when Knodell issued his verbal decision in the middle of October. She expects the Supreme Court will reject the appeal because it’s too late.

“I’m willing to go to Olympia,” she said. “I’m not too excited. I hope to not be spending my Christmas in Olympia. Of course that’s the way it goes.”

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