Duane Grifes, Verna Smigiel, and Rebecca Starr recall, Pierson, Michigan (2012)
A vote about whether to recall Duane Grifes, Verna Smigiel, and Rebecca Starr from their elected positions as village trustees of Pierson, Michigan took place on August 7th, 2012. Grifes was recalled, while Smigiel and Starr were retained. However, in June 2012 Starr had announced her plans to resign, and despite being retained in the election, she did ultimately resign from the council. The recall effort was launched in April 2012. Pierson has a population of 172. The recall effort against Grifes, Smigiel, and Starr was initiated by village president Karl Van Haren, who survived a recall election on May 8th.
Reasons for recall
Recall petition language said Starr has “prevented the village from moving forward in a positive manner” by conducting official village business and holding meetings with fellow council members at her home. Smigiel was accused of “interfering with the work schedule of the village employee and office staff,” and "degrading village personnel during public council meetings with her explosive temper and disrespect toward those who disagree with her.” Griffes was targeted for recall due to “willful neglect of duty” and because “he has financially burdened the village” by misusing the village attorney “for his own personal gain."
Path to the ballot
Ballot language was approved at a hearing on April 27. Recall organizers then needed to collect a minimum of six signatures, and nine signatures were submitted May 4. A recall election took place on August 7th.
- Grand Rapids News, "City Hall Roll Call election edition: Recall leaves Pierson council with two people," August 8, 2012
- Grand Rapids News, "Facing recall for creating a 'hostile' workplace, Pierson president tries to boot three village trustees," April 23, 2012
- Grand Rapids News, "Pierson recall: Village trustees say vengeance behind president's allegations," April 27, 2012