Howard board members say recall effort wrong, unfair

Published 9:56 am Saturday, July 12, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The six Howard Township board members currently subject to a recall petition said they feel they are being wrongfully and unfairly targeted.
Included in the recall are Howard Township Supervisor Hal Davis, Treasurer Eileen Glick, and trustees Mike Gordon, George Johnson, Craig Bradfield and Mike Richmond.
Township Clerk Linda Leet is exempt from the recall, although no reason has been stated explaining why she is not included.
The recall petition was filed by the newly-formed Howard Township Taxpayers Watchdog Organization to prevent what they claim is wasteful spending of township funds.
Watchdog organization members include local farmer and businessman Larry Eckler, long-time township residents Tony Anderson and Mike Smith, and Tom Kennedy, a former Howard Township supervisor.
The organization claims spending irregularities include the use of cell phones and auto allowances by the township supervisor and the treasurer, per-diem payments, which are daily allowances, and the awarding of gift certificates to volunteers and representatives appointed by the township board.
Disagreements between the township board members and members of the watchdog organization concerning the expansion of Moose Lake LLC's gravel pit at Moose Lake and the township board's decision to support Indeck Energy Service by allowing infrastructure through Howard Township for Indeck's proposed power plant, apparently fueled the recall.
Hal Davis, the current township supervisor, admits being subject to a recall petition is testing, not just for the township board, but perhaps also for the township itself.
But Davis said he is comfortable with all the decisions he has made during his time as the township's supervisor.
He said the township has used their attorney, John Lohrstorfer, "religiously" to make sure things are done the right way, especially when dealing with controversial issues.
The supervisor thinks the recall boils down to disagreement over the gravel pit and the proposed power plant.
He also thinks the recall is a personal vendetta against the township board members.
He doubts that the recall petition will be successful.
Mike Richmond is one of the township trustees included in the recall petition.
He thinks most of the people in Howard Township think the people on the township board are doing a good job.
Richmond said the township board has ordinances that cover the things they have done.
He feels stabbed in the back by the allegations made against him and the other board members.
Township Clerk Linda Leet is seemingly caught between a rock and a hard place.
Having voted on the same issues as the other township board members, she comes short of understanding why she wasn't recalled, too.
Leet is critical of the recall law currently in use that allow opponents of a township board to literally spread lies about the board members without repercussions.
Watchdog organization member Larry Eckler thinks the recall law should remain as it is.
Having testified in front of the House of Representatives in Lansing earlier this week in support of the recall law, Eckler said it's important for the public to have the opportunity to ensure what is done benefits the township in the long run.