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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Cohen asks for election commissioner's resignation

NEWTON

Mayor David B. Cohen said today that he had “no alternative” but to ask for the resignation of suspended city elections chief Peter Karg after a damning report found that Karg failed to oversee the count of signatures on petitions, lacked critical knowledge about the election process, and rushed the results.

“Maintaining the public’s confidence in the elections process in the city of Newton is my foremost consideration in this matter,” Cohen said on today. Cohen said he called Karg last night to inform him of the decision.

Karg could not be immediately reached for comment by Globe West. He had not yet resigned, said Jeremy Solomon, Cohen’s spokesman.

Karg’s fate results from his department’s miscount of signatures on a citizens’ petition asking aldermen to rescind a controversial vote on a site plan for a new Newton North High School. Karg certified in September that the petitioners had gathered 2,571 signatures, less than the 2,692 required.

A later count revealed that the number of signatures was 3,223, more than enough to require aldermen to act. The aldermen’s subsequent vote not to rescind their decision forced a referendum question to be held on the site plan in January.

-- Connie Paige

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