Source: Sherman Publications

Recalls taxing business, residents

by David Fleet

May 11, 2011

Goodrich-While the financial tally may tug at residents’ pockets after a host of successful and unsuccessful recalls during the past 12 years—at least one Michigan Municipal League representative says the costs are often far more than just financial.

Tony Minghine, MML associate executive director representing 500 communities statewide, said several recalls can adversely impact a municipality.

“Clearly, in a business context the stability or instability of a community, for whatever reason, can shed some light on the type of services a new business or even a family moving to that town can expect,” he said.

“Recalls are not in the plus column with regard to a place where business may seek to relocate. The checks and balances in government is a good thing, but clearly numerous recalls are not. The idea is, regardless of ideology, it’s better to work forward in a positive way rather than flounder in turmoil. In most cases those that run for office in small towns really care about their community—everyone has a view as to what that means, however they may not all agree on that idea or know how to convey that concept. In addition, there are also some very good reasons to recall, such as illegal activity, but every other year is a lot.”

For residents of Goodrich the news is not that uncommon.

There have been five recall attempts during the last 12 years in the village, with three successful recall petitions filed since November 1998.

nAs a result of the May 3 election, after serving just five months as village council president, Patricia Wartella was recalled from office. Village voters opted to remove Wartella with 317 votes (55 percent) to 260 votes (45 percent).

nIn June 2009, allegations of refusal to reduce village costs prompted recall petitions aimed at removing four of five councilmembers. Petitions seeking to oust Councilmembers Richard Horton, David Lucik and Pete Morey, as well as Council President Edmund York, were filed by village resident Diana Fredericks. Councilmember Patricia Wartella was not named. However, after the language for the recall was OK’d the signatures, 25 percent of the registered voters in the village who voted in the last gubernatorial election, were never gathered.

In September 2007 Village resident Greg Tankersley filed petitions in an effort to oust four of five village council members, President Edmund York, Richard Horton, David Lucik and Pete Morey. Not named in the recall is Patricia Wartella. The allegation made on the petition is failure to balance the village budget when requested to do so. The recall was rejected due to a petition slip-up on Jan. 23, 2008.