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Deadline error causes confusion



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Summerlee (click for larger version)
August 11, 2010 - For Becky Summerlee of Clarkston, the way the city put its recent charter amendment on the ballot inspired her to run for office.

"Losing the police department? I'm frustrated we're in this position," Summerlee said. "I believe taxes foremost should go to protect us."

She saw the deadline to register as a candidate and gather at least 20 petition signatures was Aug. 10, giving her a week.

But later that day, Aug. 3, a city council member told her the paperwork had to be in that day.

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"Just more misinformation," Summerlee said.

Posting the wrong deadline date for city office was an honest mistake, said City Manager Dennis Ritter.

"Certainly nothing intentional," Ritter said. "It was unfortunate. It won't happen next time."

City Clerk Janet Gillespie posted the deadline for nominating petitions for mayor and city council as Aug. 10.

Actually, according to city charter, deadline was Aug. 3.

The error stemmed from a misreading of state election deadlines, Ritter said.

According to state law, village candidates must file their candidacy for office by Aug. 10.

"What happened is she saw 'village' in the 'Important Dates and Filing Deadlines' list from the Secretary of State's office," Ritter said.

On Aug. 2, they received a verification form from Oakland County clerk's office, seeking a list of candidates because of the Aug. 3 deadline. Realizing the mistake, they called and emailed all candidates who had taken out a petition, he said.

City charter sets candidacy registration deadline for council seats, first Tuesday after first Monday in August – Aug. 3 this year.

Registered candidates are Joe Luginski, running for a two-year term as mayor, and incumbents Charles Inabnit and Peggy Roth, running for two-year terms on Clarkston City Council. Incumbent Mayor Steve Arkwright is not running for re-election

Candidates can file as a write-in candidate until Oct. 22. Summerlee said she hasn't decided yet if she will file as a write-in.

For more information on the city election, call 248-625-1559.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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