Robert Ficano recall, Wayne County, Michigan (2012)
Path to the ballot
In October 2011, Richard Convertino filed a petition at the Wayne County Clerk's office to have Ficano recalled from office. Convertino is the attorney for Ralph Kinney, who filed a whistle blower lawsuit against Ficano in 2010. Kinney says he was fired from his government position for talking to the FBI.
The Wayne County Elections Commission examined the clarity of the recall petition language in a hearing on November 9. The language was found to be sufficiently clear. 140,000 signatures would have been needed to force a recall election. The signature submission deadline of May 8th passed without any signatures being submitted, signalling the end of the recall effort.
Convertino said that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employee promised to help gather signatures for the recall effort, but that union officials wouldn't return phone calls since Ficano gave them a contract that includes incentives not offered to other unions.
On May 30, 2012, Convertino submitted recall petition language to the Wayne County Elections Commission, which approved petitions for circulation. Recall organizers had 90 days to gather 131,000 signatures. Convertino said his goal was to get the recall onto the November 2012 ballot, but "that's a tall order." Sufficient signatures were not gathered, and no recall election took place.
Reasons for recall
The language of the recall petition said, "Ficano approved and permitted a severance payment of $200,000 to be paid to an appointed county official, Turkia Mullin, while demanding budget cuts for county departments and pay cuts for Wayne County union employees.”
A former top Ficano aid, Tahir Kazmi, was charged with extortion, theft and obstruction of justice. Another aide, Michael Grundy, has been charged with taking kickbacks from contractors. Ficano has repeatedly denied any knowledge of wrongdoing by his staffers. The FBI is currently investigating the Ficano administration for payments to former aides, ties between contractors and a former economic development director, a $300 million jail, the purchase of the Guardian Building, and contracts for information technology and suicide prevention.
In March 2012, county commissioners Laura Cox and Bernard Parker announced that they would introduce a resolution in April asking Ficano to step aside. Another commissioner, Gary Woronchak, said "commissioners would be hard-pressed to vote 'no' because commissioners and the public is very angry." The effort to pass an anti-Ficano resolution was later dropped.
- Robert Ficano recall, Wayne County, Michigan (2010)
- Recall campaigns in Michigan
- Political recall efforts, 2012
- Laws governing recall in Michigan
- WXYZ.com, "Plymouth attorney files recall petition against Ficano, says he has squandered public trust," October 20, 2011
- Detroit News, "Signature collection begins to recall Ficano in 'uphill battle'," February 21, 2012
- Detroit News, "Recall campaign against Ficano dies," May 8, 2012
- Observer & Eccentric, "Area attorney tries again to recall Ficano," June 10, 2012
- Detroit Free Press, "Hearing on Ficano recall language moved to Nov. 9," October 24, 2011
- Detroit Free Press, "Robert Ficano recall drive can go forward, Wayne County elections panel rules," November 9, 2011
- Detroit Free Press, "Recall petition filed against Robert Ficano in wake of Mullin severance scandal," October 21, 2011
- Detroit News, "Wayne board weighs vote on Ficano," March 19, 2012
- Detroit News, "Commission drops anti-Ficano drive," March 30, 2012
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