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Montcalm County Election Commission denies Douglass Township Board recall language  

Credit:  By Elisabeth Waldon | Daily News | March 01, 2022 | www.thedailynews.cc ~~

STANTON – The Montcalm County Election Commission unanimously voted Monday morning to deny recall language filed against four members of the Douglass Township Board due to lack of clarity.

Ben Reynolds of Douglass Township filed recall petitions on Feb. 14 against four Douglass Township Board members – Supervisor Terry Anderson, Clerk Ronda Snyder, Treasurer Amy Laper and Trustee Tom Jeppesen.

The proposed recall language for Anderson, Snyder, Laper and Jeppesen is similar: “On Jan. 5, 2022, (insert Anderson’s, Snyder’s or Jeppesen’s name here) voted in favor of appointing Paul Olson to the Douglass Township Planning Commission.”

The proposed recall language for Laper is somewhat different as she abstained from voting: “On Jan. 5, 2022 … Laper abstained from voting on appointing Paul Olson to the Douglass Township Planning Commission.”

Montcalm County Probate Court Judge Charles Simon III, Montcalm County Clerk Kristen Millard and Montcalm County Treasurer JoAnne Vukin all voted to deny the recall language in front of a full house Monday morning on the third floor of the Montcalm County Administrative Building in Stanton.

Reynolds and Anderson both addressed the Election Commission before the vote took place. Jeppesen, Laper and Snyder did not speak.

“The board members’ actions to appoint Paul Olson to the Planning Commission despite that fact that he entered into a contractional agreement with Apex (Clean Energy) or Coral Wind I was a poor choice to place on the Planning Commission while work is still in progress on the wind ordinance,” Reynolds said. “Even if he was going to recuse himself, it left the Planning Commission without a member to vote on one of the most important and controversial issues Douglass Township has ever faced.

“As for Treasurer Amy Laper abstaining from voting on this matter with no explanation as to why and no explanation called for by Supervisor Anderson, we believe that she was not fulfilling her duties as a board member,” Reynolds added.

Anderson then responded to the allegations.

“We’ve been in office for 20-some plus years,” said Anderson of himself and his fellow township board members. “We work pretty much as a team, this group. I think, in my own mind, we do a pretty good job. We did appoint Paul Olson to the board. Paul Olson is a good man, I think he’ll be good for the community. He does recuse himself anytime there’s any talk about the wind stuff.

“Ronda, our clerk, wrote a really good letter to you guys,” Anderson added. “I hope you take that into consideration. You can see what we’ve been dealing with. I think we’ve been above board, no funny stuff. We’ve been dealing with some funny stuff.”

Simon, who is a Douglass Township resident himself, voiced concern with the lack of clarity in Reynolds’ proposed recall language regarding Olson.

“I have no idea who Mr. Olson is, whether he’d be appropriate or inappropriate,” Simon said. “Who’s Mr. Olson and why is it a bad thing that the board put him in that position? Therefore, as an elector and a resident of Douglass Township, the petition isn’t clear to me, nor is the reason for the vote. We don’t know why they voted for it or why it’s bad. You have to assume the reason that you submit a recall petition is because you’ve done something wrong or done something bad. They (the township board members) just merely voted. These petitions, in my opinion, lack context. They don’t set forth why the board’s actions are subject to recall. The mere fact that they voted for it, to me, I don’t know whether that was a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t have any reason as a voter in Douglass Township why I should recall these people just because they voted yes or no on some subject.”

“I agree with every single thing you said,” Millard responded. “I don’t know why it’s bad to appoint Paul Olson to the Douglass Township Planning Commission and I don’t know why it was bad for Amy Laper to abstain from voting.”

Vukin did not comment, but all three Election Commission members voted to deny the recall hearing.

‘BLATANTLY WORKING FOR THE ANTI-WIND GROUP’

The letter Anderson was referring to was a Feb. 23 letter submitted by the Douglass Township Board to the Election Commission. See the full letter and attachments here: Douglass Township letter

The letter contained attachments of a video clip of Olson recusing himself from the most recent wind ordinance meeting; two Daily News articles (“Douglass Township supervisor: ‘This township will not end up in court’ over wind ordinance” from June 4, 2021, and “Douglass Township Planning Commission makes multiple changes to draft wind ordinance” from Jan. 28, 2022); and two screenshots.

The screenshots purport to show former Planning Commission Secretary Cindy Shick allowing Ohio-based attorney Joshua Nolan to view and edit all Planning Commission meeting minutes and agendas that were sent to Snyder through Google Drive.

“We had four Planning Commission members who were only working for their own agenda,” the letter stated. “The four were so blatantly working for the anti-wind group as was evident at the meetings. They were going against what our township attorney had suggested we do. He kept saying that we should not pass an exclusionary ordinance.”

The township’s letter also leveled accusations against those working to recall Sidney Township Trustee Jed Welder.

“We know that this part is hearsay, but you recently approved a recall petition for the recall of Sidney Township’s Jed Welder,” the letter stated. “Ronda’s sister who lives in Sidney Township signed this petition. She called Ronda all upset and told her that the people who came to her house lied to her about the reason they wanted him recalled. They – many of the same people who will be circulating petitions in our township – told her that Jed was a liar and was taking bribes. She told them that she wanted to think about it, but they insisted she sign it then. To get them to leave, she signed the blank petition that they gave her. If they had given her one that was filled out, she would have seen the real reason why they wanted to call him and she told Ronda that she wouldn’t have signed it. We know it is on her to understand what she is signing, but it shows that people asking for these petitions are clearly doing whatever it takes to get signatures.”

However, Millard told the Daily News that she has reviewed all petition signatures involved in the Welder recall effort and that none of the signers whose signatures were approved signed a blank document.

[rest of article available at source]

Source:  By Elisabeth Waldon | Daily News | March 01, 2022 | www.thedailynews.cc

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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