Special election held over ethics rules
Citizens for Responsible Government Calumet County failed in its bid Tuesday to remove Calumet County Board Supv. Jerry Criter from office, but the fight isn’t over.
“It’s just the battle,” Lee Bjork, the group’s spokesman said. “It’s not the war.”
Criter, 71, who has represented District 16 since 2002, defeated political newcomer Ralph Prescott, 53, in a special election Bjork’s group initiated over votes Criter cast in July and October that the group believes were a conflict of interest.
Criter, a farmer in the Town of Brothertown, has expressed interest in leasing land to developers who are scouting the county for places to locate 400-foot wind turbines. Landowners could make about $8,000 for every turbine their land will support.
Criter doesn’t believe either vote violated state ethics rules, which bar elected officials from benefiting financially from their office. Dist. Atty. Ken Kratz cleared Criter of wrongdoing in a vote that set guidelines for locating the test towers that measure wind speeds, but wasn’t asked to investigate the ballot he cast in October denying funding for a special committee’s field trip to a wind farm.
Tuesday’s outcome, Criter said, shows, “The people trust somebody they know, who’s been part of the community.
“The people are tired of these people trying to upset the apple cart and bringing big-city politics into Calumet County. They abused the process.”
The recall group said removing Criter was too urgent to wait until next week’s regularly scheduled primary election.
Criter will face Prescott again April 1. The winner in that race will serve a two-year term. The district includes all or parts of the towns of Chilton, Stockbridge and Brothertown.
By Susan Squires
13 February 2008
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