Howard recall vote Monday

Published 11:36 pm Friday, December 12, 2003

By By JAN GRIFFEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Howard Township voters will have the opportunity, if they choose to do so, to vote Monday to recall six of the township's board members.
A group of Howard Township residents calling themselves the Howard Township Taxpayers Watchdog Organization, filed petitions to recall 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.
Leaders of the recall group include Howard Township farmer Larry Eckler, former township supervisor Tom Kennedy and township residents Tony Anderson and Mike Smith. The recall group has accused township board members of misusing township funds. However, a recent audit of the township's books did not indicate any kind of irregularities.
The only Howard Township board member not subject to the recall was long-time clerk Linda Leet, who resigned her position on Sept. 30. Shirley Tuttle, who was deputy clerk for 16 years, was appointed clerk after Leet's resignation. Leet said she resigned as clerk before the expiration of her third four-year term because of the stress brought about by the recall effort.
Ann Simmons, Cass County clerk, said clerks from neighboring townships will man the three Howard Township precincts on election day.
Those clerks are Jim Snow of Dowagiac, Amy Juroff of LaGrange Township and Linda Preston of Pokagon Township. Juroff's assistant, Judy Simpson, will also be helping out in Howard Township on Monday.
Howard Township voters will cast ballots at the Howard Fire Station, located at the corner of M-60 and Barron Lake Road, the Howard Township Business Office, located on Barron Lake Road, and the Community Hall, also located on Barron Lake Road.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The ballot includes the wording on the recall petition for each of the six being recalled, as well as written statement from those board members subject to Monday's recall vote. "Each one has 200 words or less to explain or justify the things they the recallers are claiming," Simmons said. "I think voters should read all of it."
Howard Township voters will decide on whether to recall board members individually, rather than as a group. Simmons said the Cass County Canvassing Board will meet on Thursday, Dec. 18, to canvas -- meaning make official -- the results of Monday's vote.
However, if more than one person is recalled, the situation gets more complex.
The board members subject to Monday's recall vote, should they be recalled, cannot be re-appoitned to fill a vacancy on the board.