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Some Damascus voters received incorrect ballots

Damascus has contracted with a financial temp-service organization based in Lake Oswego to handle it’s finances after its agreement ends with West Linn.

In February 2015, Damascus entered into an agreement with the city of West Linn where it pays $100 per hour for financial services and information technology management from West Linn’s financial director Richard Seals.

This came after the resignation of Damascus’ financial director Matt Zook. Gene Green, the temporary city manager for Damascus, said at the time that contracting out the job is the best choice, as the city — with an uncertain future — had a hard time recruiting for staff positions.

Damascus residents are voting May 17 on a proposal to disincorporate the city.

In an email, Seals said West Linn ended its contract with Damascus based on legal advice.

“There are too many unknowns surrounding the possible disincorporation of the city of Damascus,” Seals said. “We have enjoyed the successful partnership with the city of Damascus related to our shared-services arrangement, and if the May 17 disincorporation vote does not pass and both city councils would like us to continue helping out, we would happily entertain it.”

Ballots were sent out last week to Damascus voters and are due back by 8 p.m. May 17.

According to the contract with Creative Financial Staffing, the company will assign an employee to Damascus for a billing rate of $53 per hour. The assigned employee, Ed Jones, would remain an employee with Creative Financial Staffing but would work under the direction of Damascus officials.

Voting under question

Meanwhile, a voting ballot mishap angered some residents in Damascus this week.

Chris Hawes, leader of Citizens Committee for Disincorporation, said in an email that 306 residents in Damascus had been declared ineligible to vote May 17 and placed on the inactive voter roster. He said this number includes more than 120 people who have not applied for deannaxation.

The Clackamas County Public and Government Affairs office responded Wednesday, May 4.

“The Clackamas County Elections Office has become aware of claims that some registered voters in Damascus area have been told that they will not be able to vote at all in the May primary election,” said Clackamas County Clerk Sherry Hall. “These claims are false and we apologize for any inconvenience for the voter.”

Hall explained that the county elections office temporarily put some voters in “administratively inactive” status while attempting to determine whether the addresses they are registered at are inside our outside the city of Damascus for the purpose of Measure 93, which asks Damascus voters to decide on disincorporation.

State and local authorities have worked to clarify apparent mapping errors affecting some residents. The affected voters will receive ballots for the May 17 election, Hall said.

“Some voters in the affected area received ballots that were incorrect due to deficiencies in the description of the city boundary. Those voters will receive a corrected ballot that may or may not contain measure 93,” Hall said.

Voters who receive a corrected ballot and who have not returned their original erroneous ballot should return only the corrected ballot. Voters who have already voted and who receive a replacement ballot should complete and return the replacement ballot.

If you believe that you are entitled to a ballot and you have not received one, contact the elections office at 503-722-6086. The Clackamas Clerk is following guidance from the Secretary of State’s office to figure out who has been de-annexed and residents with questions about being de-annexed should call that office at 503-986-1518.