FLINT TWP. — It looks like a recall attempt against Township Supervisor Karyn Miller is moving forward but due process could drag on for up to another month and a half before any petitions get circulated.
On her fourth attempt last Thursday, township resident LaVonna Harris received approval of her recall petition language from the Genesee County Elections Board. Harris’ stated reason is that Miller voted in favor of ballot language for the November 4, 2014 election for a 10-year, 3.85 Millage for Public Safety (police and fire).
Recall petition language must first be approved for clarity and accuracy in a public hearing before the elections board that is made up of Genesee County Clerk John Gleason, County Treasurer Deb Cherry and Chief Probate Judge Jennie Barkey.
The panel rejected Harris’ first three petitions, which began in early May, because the language was deemed unclear or not factual. But the board okayed Harris’ fourth petition at the most recent hearing on Aug. 7.
But Miller now has the right to appeal that decision, which she said she definitely will do.
Miller has until Aug. 17 to file an appeal in Circuit Court – which is ten days after the Election Board, approved the petition language, according to Michigan Election Law provided by the Genesee County Clerk’s office.
That law states that if appealed, “the recall petition is not valid for circulation and shall not be circulated until a determination of whether each reason is factual and of sufficient clarity is made by the circuit court.”
It further states that the court has up to 40 days after the date the appeal is filed to make a determination.
Miller gave several reasons for her appeal.
First of all, she said, Harris’ initial petition attempt failed when it was discovered that she (Harris) was not a registered voter.
Secondly, the reason for the recall stat- ed on Harris’ first and second attempts changed for her third and fourth try. Harris at first targeted Miller for the township’s estimated $1 million budget shortage, which had to be balanced by reserve funds.
Miller said Harris also gave different reasons for the recall effort when she spoke with her directly. At that time, Harris complained about road conditions and a damaged trash container. Miller said she told Harris that the road she complained about is under the jurisdiction of the Genesee County Road Commission. The damaged trash container was promptly replaced, Miller said.
Miller also noted that Harris’ recall language targets only her when in fact the seven member township board unanimously voted to place the public safety millage on the November ballot.
Miller said she has concluded that Harris’ recall attempt is personal.
“She looked for any reason,’’ Miller said.
Once approved, a recall petition is valid for 180 days. Election law also establishes that the recall election will be held in the May or November general election, whichever comes first.
However the Aug. 1 deadline has passed to place items on the November 2014 ballot.
If Miller’s circuit court appeal is unsuccessful, she will have the option of resigning or placing her name as the Democratic candidate in the recall election, to retain her position. Until then, she will continue to perform her elected duties.
Miller was first elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. Election law prohibits a recall attempt in the first six or last six months of a term in office. It also limits recalls to one per term. Miller’s current term ends in 2016.
Harris could not be reached for comment.