Dec. 15 set for Howard recall election
By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Monday, Dec. 15, has been set as the date for a Howard Township recall election that could remove six township board members from office.
Shirley Tuttle, township clerk, said on Oct. 28, the Cass County election board met and chose the Dec. 15 election date.
The board members subject to the recall effort by the Howard Township Taxpayer's Watchdog Organization, are township supervisor Hal Davis, treasurer Eileen Glick, and trustees Mike Gordon, George Johnson, Craig Bradfield and Mike Richmond.
Disagreements between the board and the recall group on two controversial township zoning issues involving a Moose Lake gravel pit and Indeck Energy Service apparently fueled the recall.
The recall group, consisting of four township residents, also claims the board has misused township funds.
The four members are local farmer Larry Eckler, former township supervisor, Tom Kennedy, long-time township resident Tony Anderson, and Mike Smith, who has lived in the township for 15 years.
Spending irregularities, the group claims, include the use of cell phones and auto allowances by Davis and Glick, as well as board members' per-diem payments.
Per-diem payments are daily allowances.
Tuttle said voting will take place in the township's regular precincts and polls will stay open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The township office is precinct one, the fire station precinct two and the community hall precinct three, Tuttle said.
She said the last day for voter registration is Nov. 14.
People can register at the township office, at the Secretary of States Office in Niles, and at the county clerk's office, Tuttle said.
She said absentee ballots have to be turned in at the township office by Saturday Dec. 13, at 2 p.m., and absentee mail votes are accepted through Dec. 15.
Both sides of the recall election seem glad a date has been set for the election.
He remains optimistic the recall will not be successful.
Davis said the board members will make sure people in the community have the correct facts before the election takes place.
Smith is looking forward to election day.
Smith said the recall group doesn't have a strategy in place in the lead up to the election, but will continue to talk to people and explain why the group is behind the recall effort.
He said it's hard to say which way the election will go, but is cautiously optimistic.
Smith said the recall group has been passive since recall petitions were submitted to the county clerk.
He rebuts claims the public were misinformed when recall supporters gathered petition signatures.
Although the township board hasn't sat down as a group to discuss pre-election strategies yet, Bradfield, a trustee, said the board is working on several ideas.
Bradfield said the board has several options to inform the community about the truth, such as doing door-to-door campaigns, "letters to the editor," and direct mailings.
Bradfield is concerned of the election costs, which has been estimated at $10,000.
If a recall election is successful, a second special election must be held in February next year to elect new board members.
He thinks the recall is a personal vendetta and that most people in the township are against the recall.
Bradfield said people in the township have told him the recall is a "waste of time and money."
Eileen Glick, township treasurer, is getting tired of the recall issue.
She said everyone she has talked to think the recall is "ridiculous."
Glick said the board remains constant in their views that they haven't done anything wrong.
She also thinks the recall group has mislead people. And the misleading, she said, is unfortunate for the township.