Orange County Election Supervisor Bill Cowles wants to be pulled from the middle of a paid sick time ballot referendum fight.
Cowles’ attorney late Tuesday asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed in August that seeks to remove a paid sick time referendum from the 2014 ballot, saying he’s not the one who makes the call on if it should go to voters or not.
The motion says the lawsuit should be re-filed to include the right party: Orange County commissioners.
The sick time initiative was scheduled to be considered by voters last Nov. 2, after 50,000-plus people signed petitions seeking a referendum. But Orange County commissioners decided to keep it off the ballot.
A three-judge panel ruled in February that the commission violated the county charter and ordered it back on the 2014 primary ballot. But this summer, Republican state lawmakers passed a law barring local governments from enacting such policies.
Former Republican state Rep. Allen Trovillion sued to keep the paid sick-time ballot measure from voters in the August 2014 primary, saying it would be confusing. “It would be completely unenforceable,” said Wade Vose, the lawyer handling Trovillion’s challenge.
Cowles said he should not be a part of the lawsuit, since he takes his ballot direction from county commissioners, who in this case, were responding to a judicial order. That’s who Trovillion’s lawsuit should be aimed at, Cowles’ attorney Nick Shannin says in the motion to dismiss.
“Orange County is an indespensible party” the motion to dismiss states. “The supervisor takes no position as to whether the [ballot] resolution should or should not be on the ballot.”
The motion seeks a dismissal “without prejudice,” arguing it could be re-filed and move forward by adding the county commissioners to the lawsuit.
Vose could not be immediately reached for comment.