The ballot for the city's special election this fall will include not only the recall question but an array of advisory issues.
The City Council voted Monday to add as many as 10 questions to the ballot. Among them are whether to elect the city's mayor, rather than having council members annually select that person, and whether to unify the elementary and high school systems.
The council did not set a date for the recall election, but Mayor Cecilia L. Age has said Nov. 7 is the preferred date.
The recall vote was forced by successful petition drive against Age and Councilwoman Gail H. Kerry. A third petition aimed at Councilman Walter K. Bowman is still being circulated.
"Since we're going to have the expense of an election, we might as well get our money's worth," Age said of the advisory issues being added to the ballot.
Recall advocates fumed at the council's move, calling it a political trick to divert attention from the central issue.
"I think the council wanted to put a lot of things on the ballot, asking people's opinions, so that voters would think, 'Gee, what a wonderful council,' " said Regan Smith, a recall leader. "People would then think, 'What's the problem? This council is really concerned about us,' and then they'll vote no on the recall."
Council members, however, said the advisory questions and voters' responses would be a valuable input to city government. "Rather than pay for a lot of consultants, this way we'll get a feel for what the people want," Councilwoman Mary Ann Jones said.