Ontario Councilor Freddy Rodriguez. (Rachel Parsons/The Enterprise)

Update Tuesday, June 1: Councilor Freddy Rodriguez indicated in a Facebook message that he doesn't intend to resign and instead will go to a recall election. He wrote on Tuesday evening: "To everyone begging me to resign and circumvent 10,500 citizens, I have always made sure the voters have their views heard. I will do no different here. This will go to the voters with the ever elusive 'other half of the story' for them to weigh.

Update Tuesday, June 1: The Ontario city recorder's office confirmed Tuesday morning that the petition to recall Ontario City Councilor Freddy Rodriguez has officially received the required number of valid signatures. Rodriguez will now have five days to submit a written resignation or a recall election will be held within 35 days. This story will be updated.

ONTARIO - The petition to recall Ontario City Councilor Freddy Rodriguez is in a race against time to collect a final 61 verified signatures by Monday, June 7 that would force Rodriguez to resign or take the issue to the ballot.

The Facebook group “Ontario Citizens for Freddy Rodriguez’s Recall” announced on May 27 that the County Clerk’s Office had verified 433 of the 503 signatures that they had turned in. Malheur County Clerk Gayle Trotter confirmed that the clerk’s office had verified 433 signatures and that the city had received another 95 signatures that she would need to work on verifying next week.

Cydney Cooke, the chief petitioner of the recall effort, was “ecstatic and fueled to complete this task” after hearing the update and felt the signatures proved “the community agrees that there are major changes that need to be made regarding the way our leaders not only speak and serve while in office, but how they represent the city overall.” 

Cooke said that in addition to petitioning at local businesses, the group plans on going door to door in the final week.

Trotter said that while the June 7 deadline is the last day that any signatures can be turned in, the clerk’s office will then have ten days to verify. A signature must come from a voter registered within Ontario city limits and all information must match the county’s database.

If the group collects the required 494 verified signatures by June 7, Ontario City Recorder Tori Barnett will immediately ask Rodriguez if he will be stepping down or taking the issue to the ballot. 

Barnett said that this will be the first special election she has dealt with and she plans to consult with the state election office to ensure everything is done correctly.

Earlier this month, Trotter estimated that the cost of a special election “could easily be more” than $10,000.

News tip? Contact reporter Joey Cappelletti at [email protected] or 616-610-3093.

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