Recalled councilwoman might run again

GOLD HILL— Recalled from her City Council seat by a two-vote margin nearly four months ago, Kathleen Price is considering running for office again.

"I really want to serve the citizens of Gold Hill," said Price. "I really enjoyed being on the council and being active in the city."

Gold Hill resident Deborah Davis initiated the recall on allegations that Price interfered in a city audit, filed false reports with state agencies and harassed public employees.

Price maintains she did nothing to warrant the recall.

"I was recalled for the wrong reasons," said Price. "I was recalled for my views. I didn't do anything wrong."

Davis is disappointed, but not surprised Price would seek her seat again, she said.

"How goofy is that? I would think one time around on the Gold Hill City Council would be enough — especially when you got kicked off," said Davis.

Davis said Price continues to harass city employees. Davis' brother, Allan Jennings, works for the city's public works department.

Price currently has a complaint on file with the Oregon Government Standards and Practices Commission against Public Works Director Royal Gasso. Price's complaint alleges Gasso mishandled fill dirt, violated the city's vehicle use policy and performed illegal dumping.

"I don't want to start causing trouble," said Price. "All I have done to Royal is brought to attention some issues that need to be addressed. You only get answers if you ask questions."

Gasso said Price's allegations are false and retaliatory. Because he refused to publicly back the city's defunct police department, he has been continually targeted for "payback" by some current and former council members, he said.

Gasso has contacted his lawyer, and will defend his actions at a GSPC hearing in Salem on Sept. 14, he said.

In the final May tally, 145 voters approved recalling Price, while 143 favored keeping the first-term councilwoman in office.

City Recorder Mary Goddard said Price has picked up her election packet. State law prohibits the council from appointing Price back to her seat, Goddard said. But as the council never filled her vacancy, Price can run for office if she collects a requisite 20 signatures from Gold Hill residents, she added.

"She has to return them for verification by Thursday," Goddard said. "I told her to get 25 signatures, just to be safe."

Price said no one on the council has requested she return to city government. But she remains confident she can get the paperwork handled quickly, if she decides to run.

"I won't have any problem getting the signatures," said Price. "Don't forget that 143 citizens voted to keep me on the council."

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail

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