Bertrand Township business owner, township clerk vying for seat in recall election

Published 9:47 am Monday, May 4, 2015

In a recall election Tuesday, May 5, voters in Bertrand Township will decide on Tuesday whether to retain the services of current township clerk Jane Lano or bring in challenger Don Vite to fill out her remaining term.

Lano, 56, was appointed clerk in June of 2008 and elected into the position in November of the same year. She was reelected in 2012 for a four-year term expiring in 2016.

Don Vite

Don Vite

Vite, 51, is a Bertrand Township native who owns Vite Greenhouses with his two brothers. He has never held a public office.

The recall election stems from a recall effort led by township resident Martin Couture in the fall of 2014. Couture filed a recall petition stating that Lano notarized a civil rights complaint filed against the township board by an employee. The recall petition went on to say that Lano did not notify the board of the complaint until weeks later.

Lano said that, from her perspective, her duty as a notary is separate from her role as township clerk.

“No, I don’t believe I had any duty or obligation or responsibility to tell anybody on the board,” she said, adding that the person could have walked out of the office and thrown the piece of paper away.

“I have no control over what somebody does once a signature is notarized on a piece of paper.”

Jane Lano

Jane Lano

The recall petition received more than the 230 signatures required to advance the recall.

Vite said his signature is among those on the recall petition.

“Based on the wording of the recall I felt it was appropriate,” he said. “I felt her actions broke my trust and they were inappropriate and recall worthy.”

Lano cited her experience and ability to treat everyone equally as reasons why she should remain township clerk.

“I’ve done a good job,” she said. “I don’t say that to be bragging, but I’ve been very diligent, very dedicated and focused on serving the people in a way that all people are treated fairly, consistently and uniformly.”

Vite said he is the best candidate because he is a good problem solver and can bring a spirit of cooperation to the board.

“I have an ability to work through issues if there are complaints and I feel like it is time for me to step up and give back to my community,” he said.

Lano said she would continue to hold regular office hours.

“I have the availability and time,” she said. “I serve out of the township office, so I will not be asking people to come to my place of business if they need help.”

Vite said while he would not hold regular office hours at township hall, he would perform his duties as clerk at township hall. He said he could always be reached by cell phone or at his place of work, Vite Greenhouses, which is located near township hall.

“I will always be accessible and available to my fellow residents and will do the job and get it done thoroughly and efficiently,” he said.