Manistique mayor target of recall effort

MANISTIQUE — Recall petition language focusing on Manistique Mayor Michael Perilloux has been submitted to Schoolcraft County. A clarity hearing of the Schoolcraft County Election Commission will take place in the district courtroom of the Schoolcraft County Courthouse Tuesday, June 18, at 1:15 p.m.

The recall petition language was submitted to the county on June 5 and was sponsored by Manistique resident Don Bedwell.

The language claims Perilloux no longer serves Manistique’s best interests, citing as an example a letter to the editor sent to the Pioneer Tribune. In the letter, dated April 18, Perilloux was said to describe usage of the Freedom of Information Act by citizens as “threats and weapons.”

The language also states Perilloux used his position to “bias” attendees of a Manistique City Council meeting held on April 22 by placing printouts of a Facebook page on chairs before the meeting and citing them as proof that a non-profit organization in the area was dividing the community.

The election commission was required to schedule a clarity hearing between 10 and 20 days of receiving the submitted language. At the hearing, the commission will review the language and decide whether or not the petition should be allowed to go forward based on the language’s factual accuracy and clarity.

If the language is approved by the election commission, Bedwell would be allowed to start circulating the petition after a 10-day appeal period. The number of signatures the petition would need to be successful would be equal to 25 percent of the turnout for the last gubernatorial election in Manistique. The petition language would be valid for 180 days, and signatures would have to be submitted within 60 days of being received.

If the petition is successful, the county clerk would be required to assign votes related to the petition to Manistique’s next regular election within 10 days of receiving the petition signatures. The ballot for the election would include both the question of whether or not to recall Perilloux and a race to potentially fill Perilloux’s seat on the Manistique City Council.

If the recall goes through, the winner of the city council race would be elected to the council for the remainder of Perilloux’s term, which expires Dec. 31, 2021. The person elected to fill Perilloux’s seat would have to run for re-election to stay on the council beyond this point.

The process will end if the submitted language is not approved or the petition is unsuccessful. In this case, Bedwell or another sponsor would be able to submit new recall petition language to the county at any time.

However, new recall petition language regarding Perilloux could not be submitted during his current term if residents of Manistique vote on the recall and it is denied.

Perilloux shared his views on the recall effort in a statement.

“A recall does nothing but divide a community, and should not be the first action taken when you disagree with someone,” he said.

He also said he has worked to make decisions based on the law, transparency and taxpayer needs; cited recent accomplishments in Manistique, including the Manistique Lakeshore Campground’s success and the marina construction project; and encouraged residents of the area to remain united as a community in his statement.

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