CALHOUN COUNTY, Mich. — Chad Baase walked out of the courtroom in the county building in downtown Marshall a happy man Monday morning. The language in a recall petition he filed to oust Albion Mayor Garrett Brown was finally approved after he presented it for the second time in a month.
“It’s what needs to happen to correct what’s going on in Albion right now,” said Baase.
Baase said he was denied the first time he filed the petition back on October 31 because of a lack of clarity. The Election Commission said his language needed facts and not conclusions. Baase revised his draft.
“I had actually had an attorney oversee and read the language himself and made sure that he seen that it was clear and factual,” said Baase during an interview outside the courtroom. “He agreed, and it was submitted.”
During Monday’s petition language hearing, Baase stood at the podium and told the commission — Clerk and Register of Deeds Anne Norlander, Prosecutor David Gilbert and Treasurer Brain Wensauer — the two main reasons why Mayor Brown should be removed from office, including the personal protection order put out against him In October.
"There is other information that has not been released,” said Brown during an interview after the hearing. “However it is settled, I think my reputation and the validity of what I’m saying is going to be backed up.”
That PPO was filed on October 13 by a woman who’s accusing him of stalking her and other misconduct. Baase also referred to the mayors' treatment of the city manager, who abruptly stepped down from her position in early October. Weeks later, she rescinded her resignation.
“I get his concerns, but the manager and council have, in public, the council, in the form of resolution, have signaled their interest in moving forward positively,” said Mayor Brown. “This is out of tune with the sentiments the council has expressed and the manager has expressed.”
Mayor Brown said that he and Baase met a few weeks ago and discussed their differences. He felt that during the conversation the matter was settled.
“Obviously he’s changed his mind, even though the council and I have agreed with the manager to implement certain training sessions and opportunities for growth in this situation,” said Mayor Brown.
The mayor said he sees Monday’s decision as a “procedural” move, a part of a "multi-part process." He can appeal the decision. If he chooses not to, Baase will have until February to come up with 439 signatures to get the recall petition on the next ballot.
“I am focused on being positive,” said Mayor Brown. “This action by one resident is really divisive, and it’s not helpful at a time in Albion when we’re really trying to move forward.”