Howard recallers say they have needed signatures

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The number of recall signatures needed to cause a special recall election in Howard Township -- 438 -- has been exceeded, supporters said Tuesday night.
The recall is attempting to throw six Howard Township board members out of office.
Howard Township resident Mike Smith, one of four township residents who filed the recall petition earlier this year, said the last day of gathering signatures will be on Sept. 25.
That is also the day when the signed recall petitions will have to be handed in to the township clerk for signature verification.
The three other members of the Howard Township Watchdog Organization -- the group behind the recall effort -- are local farmer Larry Eckler, former township supervisor, Tom Kennedy, and long-time township resident Tony Anderson.
Board members subject to the recall are township supervisor, Hal Davis, treasurer Eileen Glick, and trustees Mike Gordon, George Johnson, Craig Bradfield and Mike Richmond.
Linda Leet, the township clerk, is exempt from the recall, although no explanation has been given why she isn't included.
The recall group claims board 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 the recall group 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 for Indeck's proposed power plant, apparently fueled the recall.
Davis said after Tuesday's meeting that he is not concerned with the amount of signatures the recall group has gathered so far.
Davis thinks the board is unified and comfortable with the decisions they have made.
He also thinks recall supporters could be in for a little surprise come election day.
Whether a recall election will be held, however, won't be finally decided until all signatures have been verified.
Only signatures from people who are registered as voters in Howard Township will be accepted.
Upon verification of the signatures by the county clerk, the signed petitions will be sent to the Cass County clerk.
Cass County then has 60 days to hold a recall election.
Although the minimum amount of 438 recall petition signatures has been collected, Smith didn't have an up-to-date count at Tuesday's meeting.
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