Charles Abshagen, Jessie Horrocks and Gary Wregglesworth recall, Onaway City, Michigan (2013)

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An effort to recall Gary Wregglesworth, Charles Abshagen and Jessie Horrocks from their respective positions as Mayor and City Commissioners of Onaway City, Michigan was held on November 5, 2013.[1]

Gary Wregglesworth retained his position as Mayor of Onaway City, thus defeating challenger Jim Gibson.

Charles Abshagen retained his position as City Commissioner.

City Commissioner Jessie Horrocks was recalled from her position as City Commissioner against challenger Robert Mash. However, Jessie Horrocks was re-elected to another term as City Commissioner starting in January.[2]

Election results

The following are the unofficial results of the recall attempt:[2]

Mayoral recall

Mayoral Recall:

  • Gary Wregglesworth: 144 or 57.37%
  • Jim Gibson: 107 or 42.63%

Defeatedd The recall attempt on Wregglesworth was defeated. He retained his position as mayor.

Commissioner recall

The two candidates who received the most votes go on to serve as commissioners.

City Commissioner Recall:

  • Charles Abshagen: 134 or 28.21%
  • Robert Marsh: 115 or 24.21%
  • Jessie Horrocks: 114 or 24.00%
  • James Grainger: 112 or 23.58%

Defeatedd The recall attempt on Abshagen was defeated. He retained his position as a city commissioner.

Approveda The recall attempt on Horrocks was approved. She was recalled from her position as a city commissioner. Robert Marsh replaced her on the City Council. However, Jessie Horrocks was re-elected to another term as City Commissioner starting in January. She won re-election to the new term with 105 votes. She had four challengers who received 96, 91, 39 and 26 votes.

Opponents of Horrocks acknowledged after the election that their chances of winning would have been greater if so many opponents had not run.

Background

Judy Shaloy and "Citizens for a Safer Community" led the effort to recall the Onaway city council after the council decided to eliminate the Onaway Police Department and its sole police officer, Jim Gibson. The council eliminated the police department to cover a budget shortfall and provide additional funds for local infrastructure improvements. Recall supporters opposed the budgetary decisions.[1][3][4]

Recall supporters also ran an effort to recall City Commissioners Ron Horrocks and Bernie Schmeltzer. However, that effort started later because the two men began their current terms of office in January and state law does not permit recalls for six months from that time.[1][3]

Petition language

Local reports indicated that the petitions read: "That [each individual] has failed to make decisions in which the voters have entrusted regarding the safety and security of our community by refusing to explore or take advantage of offers or options from citizens or other outside governmental agencies to retain the Onaway Police Department. And by doing so, is putting the community’s safety and security at risk."[4]

At a county elections board meeting in May, Horrocks questioned the language, saying, "Putting the community’s safety and security at risk? I believe that is an opinion, instead of a fact. Because, if that were a fact, every township and city in our county is at risk."[4]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing recall in Michigan

To trigger the November 5 election, recall supporters had to collect 58 signatures within 60 days of their May 9 petition approval.[4] Signatures were submitted and approved by early July.[1]

See also

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