Roger Zilke recall, Berrien County, Michigan, 2010
The recall effort was initiated and filed by Ronald Zwar, a local business owner. According to Zwar, a recent drainage project - also known as the Hollywood Drain Project - sponsored by Zilke is a costly and unnecessary project for the county.
According to the latest filed recall language, Zilke has "been negligent in fulfilling current and past duties as drain commissioner by not maintaining the Bort and Lambrecht drain and the Miller and Beach drain as required by the Michigan State Drain Code Law." Additionally, the language states that Zilke proposed projects, such as the Hollywood Drain Project, that are "at exorbitant and excessively high costs in an extremely wasteful manner without concern to the taxpayer."
Hollywood Drain Project
The Hollywood Drain Project to reduce flooding would be implemented in Lincoln, Saint Joseph and Royalton Townships and is estimated to be about $6 million. Zwar argues that according to independent engineering studies a similar project can be implemented for as little as $400,000.
On December 4, 2009 the commissioners voted 9-3 in favor a measure that could potentially mean that the county would have to pay off $750,000 in bonds for the proposed Hollywood Consolidated Drain project. The loan includes the preliminary engineering and easement acquisitions and the current interest rate is set at 2.49%.
Path to the ballot
In order to force a recall election, supporters would have had to collect a minimum of 13,225 valid signatures.
After the initial petition was rejected by Berrien County Election Commission, Zwar filed a new petition on September 25, 2009. The commission previously ruled that the recall language did not meet state standards of clarity.
- [http://www.wsjm.com/Drain-Commissioner-Recall-Fails-To-Collect-Enough-/6932223 WSJM, " Drain Commissioner Recall Fails To Collect Enough Signatures," April 29, 2010]
- WSBT, "Petition to recall Berrien County Drain Commissioner approved," November 6, 2009
- South Bend Tribune, "Recall papers filed again: Berrien drain commissioner remains target," October 1, 2009
- WSJM, "Recall Language Against Drain Commissioner Submitted," September 11, 2009
- WSJM, "Opponents Of Hollywood Project Eye Recall Of Drain Commissioner," August 28, 2009
- South Bend Tribune, "County supports drain loan," December 4, 2009