Buena Vista School Board recall, Michigan, 2010

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An effort to recall four Buena Vista School board members was initiated in January 2010. Targeted board members include: Vice President Alvin Jernigan Jr., Treasurer Patricia Butler, and trustees Rosie Jackson and Leonard N. Williams. Intent to recall petitions were filed by Vannessa Curry with Saginaw County officials.[1]

Reasons for recall

  • Jernigan and Williams: According to the filed petitions, Jernigan and Williams were targeted for their alleged "involvement in unethical practices that contradict board policies and laws that negatively affect the district." Both board members reached a plea agreement in March 2010 with Saginaw County prosecutors. Prosecutors recommended a one-year delay of sentence, agreeing to dismiss felony counts against Jernigan and Williams if they comply with court-imposed terms of the delayed sentence. The felony charges that are being dropped under the plea agreement related to charges of improperly possessing/returning absentee ballots.[1],[2] The remaining members of the school board indicated that they planned to replace Jernigan and Williams on the board, even if they refuse to resign, treating the seats as vacant. Anyone convicted of a felony while serving on a Michigan school board must step down immediately. The attorney for Jernigan and Williams says that they haven't been convicted of a felony.[3]
  • Jackson: On the other hand Jackson has been targeted for a recall, according to Curry, because of her "inability to uphold the responsibilities of the elected board position she holds due to excessive absences."[1]
  • Butler: According to Curry, Butler was selected due to her "inability to recognize district concerns or exercise proper board policies to make informed decisions that are in the best interest of the students."[1]

History of recalls

The Buena Vista School Board is a frequent target of recall campaigns:

  • In 2000, residents tried recalling school board members six times.
  • School board president Margarett Williams was recalled, narrowly, with 252 votes to retain her and 261 votes to recall her.

Path to the ballot

  • Saginaw County officials ruled on February 1, 2010 that the recall language wasn't clear enough for voters to understand and said that the recall petition could not be circulated unless the language was re-submitted, where it would have to go through another approval process.[4]
  • Recall organizer Curry filed new papers targeting Alvin Jernigan Jr. and Leonard N. Williams in early February after the first set of recall papers was said to be insufficiently clear.[5]
  • On February 23, 2010, the Saginaw County Elections Commission authorized the recall effort targeting Jernigan and Williams to go ahead, saying that the new set of recall papers filed in early February is sufficiently clear for voters to understand.[6]
  • Recall supporters had until late August to submit a minimum of 622 valid signatures to force a recall election targeting Jernigan and Williams.

See also


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