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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Wheeler Co. Judge Lynn Morley faces recall election

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Ballots to be mailed Wednesday – Election Day June 10

By Stephen Allen

On May 1, a recall petition for Wheeler County Judge Lynn Morley was accepted by the Oregon Elections Division.

Ballots for the special recall election are expected to be mailed out this week and election day will be on June 10.

Mickey Dodd of Mitchell is the chief petitioner. This is the second time Mr. Dodd has filed a recall petition against Judge Morley. The original recall petition was filed in late 2019. It was subsequently thrown out by the Oregon Elections Division in January 2020 for failing to have the required number of verifiable signatures.

Reached by phone, Mr. Dodd said that although he is the chief petitioner, he has been working with a committee on the recall effort.

Calling themselves the Wheeler County Citizens Action Committee, Mr. Dodd says that the group is made up of Carmen Oaks, Glenn Raber, Dr. John Fraschella, Billy Parker and Rick Paul.

Mr. Dodd reports that 197 signatures were obtained for the recall petition and of those, 187 were accepted by the Elections Division. A total of 123 valid signatures were needed to force the recall election.

Mr. Dodd said that the list of grievances is largely unchanged from the original petition.

The list of petition items includes violating executive session laws and alleged improprieties regarding the mismanagement of Frontier TeleNet finances and public records requests.

In addition, the petition alleges that Judge Morley violated public contracting laws for a gravel contract; that he did not execute a contract to hire a trapper and that he negotiated the sale of The Shamrock “to a friend” at below market value.

Lastly, the petition states that the $2 million project that would bring broadband internet to Wheeler County was done without a motion made to the court.

Judge Morley disputes each claim. During the initial recall, Judge Morley gave court documents and public records to the Times-Journal. In a recent interview with Wheeler County News, Judge Morley again pushed back against each allegation.

Judge Morley says that every item on the petition statement is unfounded and that the proof is in the county court recordings and in the public record.

The Times-Journal will be providing additional information and analysis in the coming weeks.

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