Resident pursuing supervisor recall

FLINT TWP. — A township resident said she plans to follow through on an attempt she started last May to recall Township Supervisor Karyn Miller.

On her fourth try, resident LaVonna Harris received approval on August 7 of her recall petition language from the Genesee County Elections Board. Recall petition language must first be approved for clarity and accuracy in a public hearing before an elections board that is made up of Genesee County Clerk John Gleason, County Treasurer Deb Cherry and Chief Probate Judge Jennie Barkey.

Initially, Harris said she sought to recall Miller because she “voted for a operations deficit budget in 2014,’’ according to documentation from the county Elections Division. But on the approved petition language, Harris changed her reason to Miller’s voting in favor of placing a 3.85 Public Safety Millage for police and fire on the November ballot.

Miller appealed the decision but on November 17, 2014, Circuit Court Judge Joseph J. Farah issued an order affirming the decision of the Election Commission. The recall language is valid for 180 days from the Circuit Court approval, according to information from the elections division.

That gives Harris until mid-May to file the completed signatures but signatures dated more than 60 days before the filing are not valid. The clock is ticking but Harris said she does not plan to begin circulating petitions until after the first of the year.

“I am going to do my best to get my signatures,” Harris said last week when contacted for comment. She said a committee has been formed to help her and she’s also been hearing from others who want to get involved due to recent news that the township board gave employees raises.

“There’s a lot of people disgusted with this,” Harris said. “I have more people coming to my house and complaining about what is going on in the system.”

“I’ve got people standing behind me. If I don’t get the signatures, I don’t get them, but by God, I am going to try.”

Harris and supporters must gather signatures totaling 25 percent of votes cast by Flint Township voters for the governor in the 2014 election, according to election law.

The final two steps would be to have the petition signatures validated and the recall election set. By law, recall elections are scheduled for either the regular election of May or November, whichever comes first.

If the recall reaches the election phase, Miller’s name will be automatically listed as a candidate on the ballot, unless she chooses to withdraw.

Asked for comment last week, Miller said she had heard nothing further about the recall attempt since her appeal was denied last month.

In her defense, she had said earlier that she fought the recall because she believed it was a personal vendetta against her.

She said Harris’ initial petition attempt failed when it was discovered that she (Harris) was not a registered voter. Then, she noted that Harris’ reason for the recall changed by her third and fourth try.

Miller said she spoke directly Harris after her first recall attempt and had attempted to resolve her complaints about road conditions and trash collection.

Miller also noted that Harris’ recall 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.

Miller was first elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. She is midway through her second four-year term, which ends in 2016. 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.

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