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Ticking clock

School board recall proponents facing deadlines

January 14, 2009
By Dionna Harris

ESCANABA - Petitions seeking the recall of three members of the Gladstone School Board have yet to be filed with Delta County Clerk Nancy Kolich's office.

Petitions seeking the recall of Gary Micheau, Steve O'Driscoll, and Linda Howlett were approved by the Delta County Elections Board during clarity hearings in October and November.

The wording of the petitions seeking the recall of Micheau and O'Driscoll was approved Oct. 8. The wording of petitions seeking the recall of Howlett and McDonnell were denied for lack of clarity concerning the reason the recall was being sought. A separate clarity hearing Nov. 7 concerning the wording for the recall of Howlett was approved. The language calling for the recall of McDonnell was denied. A petition seeking the recall of McDonnell was not resubmitted by the Committee to Improve Gladstone Schools.

Petitioners need to collect 993 valid signatures for board member named on the three separate petitions seeking the recall of Micheau, O'Driscoll, and Howlett for a recall election to be scheduled.

The 90-day mark for the first signatures to be considered valid naming Micheau and O'Driscoll expired Jan. 6. Petitioners have until April 6 to file the requisite number of signatures with the clerk's office for the recall effort to proceed.

In the case of the recall efforts for Howlett, the Committee to Improve Gladstone Schools has until Feb. 5 for the signatures collected within the first 90 days of the petitions circulation to be considered valid. If the committee proceeds for the full 180 days, they have until May 6 to file completed petitions.

Once the completed petitions are filed with the county clerk's office, Kolich then has 24 hours to notify each of the people named in the recall of the filing.

Kolich also noted once the petitions have been filed with her office, they become public record and are open to anyone who wishes to review the petitions.

Once the notifications have been issued, the clock begins ticking for signatures to be checked and verified before a recall election can be scheduled.

According to Kolich, the cost of a special election for a recall could be from $3,500 to $4,000 with the cost being borne by the school district.

During this time, each of the individuals named in the recall has the right to issue a challenge concerning any signature on the petition bearing their (the official's) name.

In the event the recall is successful, a special election would be held on the next regular election date to fill the vacancies.



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