Lincoln Consolidated School District recall, Michigan (2014)

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An effort to recall five members of the Lincoln Board of Education in Michigan was initiated on April 30, 2014. The recall effort failed after county elections officials rejected petition language on May 15, 2014, and again on June 3, 2014.[1] Recall organizer Tom Rollins Sr. hoped to recall board members Kimberly Samuelson, Yoline Williams, Gregory Joseph Gurka, David McMahon and Connie Newton.[2]

Recall supporter arguments

Rollins, the head of the Lincoln Parent Political Action Committee, initiated the recall effort due to the district's recent financial struggles. The district was assigned a Deficit Elimination Plan by state officials after running out of savings. Rollins argued in an interview with The Ann Arbor News that the current board had not held district administrators accountable for bad financial decisions and a new board was necessary to guide the district out of the state-required plan. The recall effort did not target board members Jennifer LaBombarbe and Jennifer Czachorski because their terms expired in 2014.[2]

Kimberly Samuelson's response

Samuelson provided the following response to the recall effort to The Ann Arbor News:

We understand, support and encourage change through the democratic process [...] Without question, the past several months have been difficult and challenging for the district and our community is passionately concerned about quick resolution, rightly so. To that end, we do have an approved DEP and all of our unions deserve enormous credit for their courage and commitment to LCS for their concessions contribution. We could not have obtained an approvable DEP without their sacrifice. Additionally, we are in the process of providing systemic changes in the way we do business including securing expert financial support, an initiative encouraged by MDE. This includes but is not limited to an improved strategic plan, zero based budgeting and implementing process safety mechanisms that will provide a financially stable and healthy district for years to come.

We continue to hear from differing perspectives and are sensitive to all positions. Collaboration with all stakeholders is our priority.[3]

The Ann Arbor News, (2014) [2]

Petition language

Recall supporters submitted petitions against Samuelson, Williams, Gurka, McMahon and Newton prior to gathering signatures for a recall election. The following language was used for all five board board members, with only the names and pronouns changed as appropriate.

Kimberly A. Samuelson should be recalled from the office of Trustee on the Lincoln Consolidated Schools Board of Education because she has failed to provide adequate financial oversight of the budget. She has supported deficit spending which created an operating debt, a diminished bond rating and a State mandated Debt Elimination Plan.[3]

—Recall organizer Tom Rollins Sr., (2014) [4]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing recall in Michigan

Recall organizers submitted recall petitions for Samuelson, McMahon, Gurka and Newton to the Washtenaw County Election Commission. They had to submit petitions against Williams with the Wayne County Clerk because she resided in Wayne County. Organizers would have needed to collect signatures from 2,460 registered voters, which equals 25 percent of all votes in the district during the previous gubernatorial election. County election officials would have reviewed the signatures before approving a recall election. The petitions would have been required to be submitted by August 1, 2014, in order to qualify for the November 2014 general election ballot.[2][5] The recall effort failed after county elections officials rejected petition language on May 15, 2014, and again on June 3, 2014.[1]

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