Ogemaw County recall, Michigan, 2010

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An effort to recall County Clerk Gary Klacking and Board Commissioner Chairman John West was filed in August 2009. According to the filed intent to recall by Joan May Older of Rose City and Timonth Edward Beck of Horton Township, the recall is based on the discussion of the medical condition of an Ogemaw County employee's spouse during an open meeting, a violation of the open meetings law.[1] Recall supporters are aiming for a May 4, 2010 election.

In April 2010, election officials said that not enough signatures had been filed to force a recall election.[2] The number of signatures was four short of the required number.[3]

Background

At a clarity hearing on September 10, 2009 the Ogemaw County Election commission ruled 2-1 against the first recall language petition submitted to them, saying that the language was unclear. Petition supporters Older and Beck were allowed to re-file the petition language.[4] On September 16, recall language was refiled by Older and Beck. New language against West states, "Commissioner West neglected to stop the discussion of the spouse’s condition and treatment." Language against Klackings states that he "failed to inform or suggest that a discussion of an Ogemaw County employee’s spouse’s medical condition be ceased and no names, condition, and treatment to be stricken from the public record."[5] On October 1 the election commission voted 3-0 that the new language for both recalls was clear.[6]

Response to recall

Klacking

In reaction to the recall petition, Klacking said that he is "baffled" and confused. Klacking defends his actions at the meeting by noting that although he may talk to the baord he does not control them, "You have chairmen on your committees," he said. Klacking added, "It is unfortunate that in Michigan, our recall law allows a person to be recalled for pretty much any reason under the sun. It does not have to have any basis in truth or reality. Statements can be made, and then if the language is clear, based on what the election commission reviews, then it can be placed on a ballot if the signatures that are required have been collected."[1]

West

According to West, once the insurance committee discovered that the conversation should have been handled differently a special meeting was scheduled. "I believe it’s now been about six months since this incident happened. The family has never said anything to me about it. I don’t believe they’ve said anything to any of the insurance committee. Nothing was done intentionally to hurt this family. Everything was done to help them. I guess I’m a little stumped, if what happened was so bad to cause a recall, why they didn’t come to me when it happened and discuss it. And why did it take so many months to file the recall petition,” said West.[1]

Opponents

According to recent reports, not all county residents agree that County Clerk Gary Klacking and Board Commissioner Chairman John West should be recalled because it's simply "not the best way" to handle the issue. Although most residents not dispute the fact that talking about an employee's wife's medical condition during an open meeting was not the best decision made by county officials, the recall will cost taxpayers money they can't afford to spend, argue residents.[7]

Path to the ballot

In order to place the recalls on the ballot a minimum of 250 valid signatures are required for West and 1,880 for Klacking. Recall supporters have 180 days to recall but may submit signatures collected in the last 90 days.[6] [8]

See also

References