2017-07-13 / Front Page

Fishel's recall petition language approved

Recall petition language for Village of Roscommon President Dan Fishel was approved July 6 by the Roscommon County Election Commission.

The language, which reads, “Shar­ing his personal opinion of the Roscom­mon Downtown Development Authority after introducing himself as the village president at the March 22, 2017 County Commissioners meeting is a violation of the village ethics ordinance. His ef­forts to dismantle the DDA could cost the village more than $90,000 per year,” was determined “clear and factual” dur­ing the July 6 clarity/factual hearing, by election commission members Clerk Mi­chelle Stevenson, Judge Mark Jernigan and Treasurer Rebecca Ragan.

Before the language had been ap­proved, Stevenson said that an incorrect meeting date had been found in the pre­vious wording that had been submitted. She said Village of Roscommon Trustee Dan Scow, who submitted the language had scratched out the incorrect date and had written in the correct date. When the correction was made, Stevenson said she asked Scow to initial his correction so it did not appear that she corrected the language.

Being that both Fishel and Scow were in attendance at the clarity/factual hearing, Jernigan, asked if both received the language wording. Jernigan added that Scow had provided additional docu­Fishel’s to the election commission and both Stevenson and Ragan had been able to review the documents.

Jernigan then asked Fishel and Scow if they had any comments to make. Scow said he had brought a recording of the March 22 Roscommon County Board of Commissioners meeting which is ref­erenced in the recall petition language. Fishel said when he attended the March 22 meeting, he was talking about the Roscommon Downtown Development Authority’s tax increment financing and not about dismantling the DDA. “I can’t dismantle the DDA,” Fishel said, as there are regulations that must be fol­lowed in regard to DDAs. He also ques­tioned the $90,000 figure referenced in the language and said “there is no way of knowing that” in regard to the $90,000.

“This is not accurate and is not clear,” Fishel said of the recall petition language. “…I don’t know where the $90,000 came from.”

Discussion was then opened to the commission members and Ragan asked if the commission was supposed to be determining if the language is “true or false” or “fact filled.”

“It’s my understanding that the factu­al determination, the way the courts have looked at it, is is it a factual issue that in this situation the voters could make a determination on…It’s not our duty to find it to be true or false here…it’s just a matter of whether…,” Jernigan said and Ragan said “can someone see if it’s true or false?”

“Correct,” Jernigan said. “Based on that, could [the voters] use that as a basis to determine whether they believed it to be true or false when they make their de­termination on whether to sign the peti­tion or to eventually vote.”

Stevenson said the way Jernigan ex­plained the matter is also the way she understands the duties of the election commission to be when determining if language is clear/factual.

Jernigan added that the current lan­guage submitted by Scow is “much clearer” than the previous petition lan­guage. Jernigan then entertained a vote on the language, which all three mem­bers approved..

Stevenson told Fishel he had 10 days to appeal the election commission’s de­termination to the 34th Circuit Court. If Fishel chooses to appeal, it would need to be filed by July 18.

After the 10-day appeal period, Ste­venson said the recall petition could be circulated. Stevenson told the Resorter July 10 that a total of 54 signatures are needed on the petition from Village of Roscommon resident who are registered to vote.

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