Cass clerk gets Howard recall petitions

Published 6:44 pm Thursday, October 16, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The recall petitions signed in an effort to remove six Howard Township board members from the township board were submitted to the Cass County Clerk on Wednesday.
Wednesday was the township's deadline to submit the signed petitions to the county.
Shirley Tuttle, the newly appointed township clerk, said she submitted the signed petitions -- of which there were at least 438 -- around 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
Four hundred thirty-eight is currently the minimum number of petition signatures needed to have a recall election in the township.
The number is based on the percentage of township residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election.
Board members subject to the recall are the township supervisor, Hal Davis, treasurer Eileen Glick and trustees Mike Gordon, George Johnson, Craig Bradfield and Mike Richmond.
Recall supporters are headed by former township supervisor, Ted Kennedy, local farmer Larry Eckler, and long time township residents Tony Anderson and Mike Smith – the four men behind the Howard Township Taxpayers Watchdog Organization.
Watchdog members claim the board members have acted against board regulations, and accuse Glick and Davis of misusing township funds.
Disagreements on two controversial zoning issues in the township is also thought to have fueled the recall effort.
Ann Simmons, Cass County Clerk, said the board members subject to the recall and the recall sponsors now have until Oct. 23, to file challenges against the signatures that have so far only been reviewed by Tuttle.
After Oct. 23, Simmons said she has five days to review the challenges before deciding whether there are enough recall petitions to hold a valid recall election.
Based on the amount of petitions submitted on Wednesday, it seems as if Howard Township may have a recall election.
After the final decision has been made, Simmons said she has a time-frame of between 45 to 60 days within which to hold a recall election.
That means a recall election could fall in the lap of township residents just before, or a little after Christmas.
Simmons said an election won't be held later than Dec. 27.
If a recall election is successful and removes the six board members from their seats, a very complicated formula in which the state has no role falls into place to rebuild the township board, Simmons said.
Simmons said the first step is for her and Tuttle to appoint a third person and together the three will constitute a three-member township election commission.
Currently, the election commission consists of the township supervisor, treasurer and the clerk.
What then happens is a gradual rebuilding of the township board by appointment of the election commission, Simmons said.
After that, local political parties get involved and nominate candidates for the vacant board seats.
In a recall election, however, Simmons said the recall language will be on the ballots, as will a 200 word maximum rebuttal from each board member subject to the recall effort.
Simmons and Tuttle are currently discussing how to organize a recall election.
With the cost of supplies, number of ballots and paid election workers, a recall election will cost money for the township's tax payers, a recall election won't come free.