Cedar Springs, Mich. (April 9, 2014) — A petition drive to recall two city council members in Cedar Springs appears to be moving forward once again.
The petitioner, Cedar Springs resident Mark Laws, was side-tracked briefly after two council members appealed the language in the petition before a judge in circuit court.
In the earlier petition, it appeared that the language used wasn’t clear enough in stating why the council members should be recalled.
Court documents filed by an attorney for Troost and Bremmer argued against the petition by telling a judge, “The recall effort grew out of a rift between the Cedar Springs City Council and the Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors….”
“the petitions are unclear.”
In the latest version of the petition form, it was clarified by petitioner Mark Laws and is now moving forward.
Laws’ recall petition form for both Ashley Bremmer and Patricia Troost points to an old debate that has brewing in the town for quite some time over what to do with the town’s logo.
It states that he is initiating the recall because the women, “voted to change the city logo and tagline” without letting the public comment on it.
The petition form also states, ”This change in the logo and tagline was not presented to the public for input or comment before the change was made.”
He also alleges on the petition form that the Open Meetings Act wasn’t followed during one meeting.
He said the two council members, “voted to go into a closed session to hear complaints against council member Truesdale.”
Because he claimed there was no official request by Truesdale to do so, Laws felt it was a violation of the act which he stated, “Allows for a closed session if it is requested by the person to be reprimanded or disciplined, Council Member Truesdale made no request.”
Mary Hollinrake, who sits on the Kent County Election Commission, said the newer language on the petition form was approved by the commission March, 7.
She said those who support the petition need to gather nearly 200 signatures to get it on the ballot.
“It will need 170 qualified electors to sign the petition, then it gets sent to us to be verified,” said Hollinrake.
This is the language on the approved form in its entirety.
The petition form states Troost and Bremmer, “voted to go into a closed session to hear complaints against council member Truesdale. The Open Meetings Act 267,15,268,8a allows for a closed session if it is requested by the person to be reprimanded or disciplined, council member Truesdale made no request.
“On November 14, 2013 Patricia Troost voted to change city logo and tagline. For many years it has been procedure of the council to not take action on an item not previously on agenda for public input and comment. This change in the logo and tagline was not presented to the public for input or comment before the change was made.”
FOX 17 reached out to both city council members named in the recall through email and telephone.
However, they were not available as of Wednesday afternoon.
Laws has to gather the petition signatures by early August.
“The deadline to submit those petitions to my office is August 1st in order to get it on the November ballot,” said Hollinrake.
We’re also told that Laws submitted a complaint with the Michigan Bureau of Elections.
The Secretary of State’s Office says the complaint alleges that city managers, city council members and the city attorney misused public dollars for a political purpose.
A spokesperson said that complaint is being reviewed.