Third petition approved in recall effort of Troy mayor

By Kate Opalewski

On March 15 the Oakland County Election Commission approved a third petition submitted by the Recall Janice Daniels group during a clarity hearing at the Oakland County Probate Court in Pontiac. This followed a decision made by the commission to reject the group's second petition on March 1.

According to John Kulesz, a local attorney, longtime resident of Troy and volunteer for the campaign, the group received numerous emails from supporters asking that they include the language of the second petition in the recall. "The new petition is simply a revision and provides a more complete picture of the many reasons why Janice Daniels must be recalled. Further, it addresses the issues that concerned Judge Hallmark and County Clerk Bullard," said Kulesz.

The second petition was initially rejected because Hallmark stated that she had "concerns" about whether the oath of office occurred during or prior to the time that Mayor Daniels was actually sworn in to office. Mayor Daniels took office on Nov. 14, 2011. According to Michigan's Recall Procedures (http://www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/Recall_Procedures2_211779_7.pdf), each reason for the recall must be based upon the officer's conduct during his or her current term in office.

The revised petition language reads as follows: "We, the undersigned, registered and qualified voters of the City of Troy, in the County of Oakland, and State of Michigan, petition for the calling of an election to recall Janice Daniels from the office of Mayor, for the following reason(s): (1) for referring to the Troy City Charter as a "whimsical" document in a November 21, 2011 interview with the Detroit Free Press; (2) for declaring, during an "office hours" forum on January 9, 2012, that "the homosexual lifestyle is dangerous"; (3) for publicly attacking city employees during the January 9, 2012 City Council meeting while reading a 20 minute "position paper" into the record; and (4) for failing to support a Federal investment in the City of Troy of over $8.4 million, by voting against the Troy Transit Center project on three occasions (December 19, 2011, January 17, 2012, and February 20, 2012)."

The group plans to circulate this petition to collect the required 7,985 signatures soon. To be a part of the critical signature-gathering step, email recalljanicedaniels@gmail.com.

Daniels' supporter files counter petitions

In response to the groups' recall efforts, Mayor Daniels' supporter and Troy resident Nicholas Cherasaro filed 13 new recall petitions on Mar. 12 against four Troy elected officials. According to a recent story by Troy Patch, the 13 submissions include 10 petitions to recall Mayor Daniels and one petition each to recall Councilman Wade Fleming, Councilman Dane Slater and Mayor Pro Tem Maureen McGinnis.

Each petition to recall Mayor Daniels cites a different reason for the recall:

"For saying she would bring speakers in who would tell the people at a meeting that the homosexual lifestyle is dangerous which is supported by overwhelming documents that states that is true."

"For wearing tan shoes with a black suit to a council meeting on February 20th, 2012."

"For smiling at the public during a city council meeting on February 6th, 2010."

"For having perfect attendance as City of Troy Mayor since elected in November of 2011."

"For wearing a red hat with a red coat at the same time in front of the Channel 7 TV cameras."

"For voting for the Troy Public Library to be open on Saturdays to better serve the people of Troy."

"For going door to door and talking with city residents on their front porches."

"For taking the oath of office to uphold the US Constitution of State of Michigan with is inclusive of the Troy City Charter."

"For not voting for the Troy Transit Center because of the additional cost to the City of Troy for the years to come."

"For asking the Troy Chamber of Commerce to put their promise to cover operating and maintenance costs of the new transit center in writing."

In the recall petitions for Slater, McGinnis and Fleming, Cherasaro listed only "voting to approve a Transit Center cost not to exceed $6,272,500 grant to the City of Troy on January 17, 2012 (Resolution #2012-01-009)" as the reason he wishes to recall all three council members.

"This time, they've filed a pile of bogus, "joke" petitions with the County Election Commission. This is reminiscent of the three phony library millage proposals the same group of folks put on the 2010 ballot," said Matt Binkowski, who sponsored the original three petitions to recall the mayor. "It's not at all surprising that Janice's supporters would file 10 joke petitions with the County Elections Board. That's the problem with Janice and her supporters - they simply don't take the business of government seriously.

But according to state law, any reason listed for recall, even if it is not true or relevant to the recall, may be approved so long as the language is sufficiently clear and the reason pertains to something that happened while the elected official was in office. Mayor Daniels told Troy Patch that she is not worried about a recall election and in her statement on March 13 said, "Representative republicanism is challenging. It always has been. It always will be. But with all its flaws, it is still the best governmental system known to mankind. Let the process work itself out."

Oakland County officials have told the press that the Michigan recall system is "flawed" and that they are "limited by law to decide if the language on a particular petition is clear enough to be circulated." The commission is there "to make sure the form is filled out properly, but it's not their job to determine motives."

Even though the goal of Mayor Daniels' supporters is "to obscure the legitimate recall efforts and create apathy among Troy voters," Binkowski said, "The good citizens of Troy won't be fooled this time, however." The group's website reads: "The people of Troy have grown tired of their ridiculous, self-serving political tactics. It's time to restore competent leadership to Troy. It's time to recall Janice Daniels."

A hearing for all 13 petitions will be held on March 28 at 1:30 p.m. in the Pontiac courtroom of Chief Probate Judge Linda Hallmark to "determine whether each reason for the recall stated in the petition is of sufficient clarity to enable the officer whose recall is being sought and the electors to identify the course of conduct which is the basis for the recall." This hearing is open to the public.

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