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Buena Vista School Board recall, Michigan, 2010

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An effort to recall four Buena Vista School Board members in Michigan was initiated in January 2010. The recall effort did not go to a vote after Judge Fred Borchard removed Alvin Jernigan Jr. and Leonard N. Williams from the board in April 2010 due to convictions for election fraud.[1] Recall organizers originally targeted Jernigan, Williams, Patricia Butler and Rosie Jackson but narrowed focus after recall language was initially rejected by the Saginaw County Clerk.[2]

Recall support arguments

Local resident Vannessa Curry provided the following reasons for recalling board members with her petitions:[2]

  • 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 complied with court-imposed terms of the delayed sentence. The felony charges dropped under the plea agreement related to charges of improperly possessing and returning absentee ballots.[2][3] 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 said that they haven't been convicted of a felony.[4]
  • Jackson: Jackson was targeted for a recall because of her "inability to uphold the responsibilities of the elected board position she holds due to excessive absences."[2]
  • Butler: 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."[2]

The Buena Vista School Board is a frequent target of recall campaigns. In 2000, residents tried recalling school board members six times. Patricia Butler and Tracey Packard resigned in June 2011 after local resident Christina Dillard submitted enough petitions to force a recall vote.[5]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing recall in Michigan

Saginaw County officials ruled on February 1, 2010 that the recall language wasn't clear enough for voters to understand. The recall petition could not be circulated unless the language was re-submitted, where it would have to go through another approval process.[6] 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.[7] 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 was sufficiently clear for voters to understand.[8] Recall supporters had until late August to submit a minimum of 622 valid signatures to force a recall election targeting Jernigan and Williams. The recall effort ended with the removal of Jernigan and Williams by Judge Borchard.[1]

See also

References