February 17, 2019

Signatures filed in recall attempt on Edwards Township clerk

If signatures are verified, recall will appear on November ballot


EDWARDS TWP. — Approximately 207 signatures were turned in to Ogemaw County Clerk Gary Klacking Monday in an attempt to have recall language against Edwards Township Clerk Dennis Stephens placed on the ballot.

Klacking said 122 signatures were required to have the issue placed on the Nov. 6 ballot. He said he will do a preliminary check of the petition sheets, and then the petitions will go to the local clerk for signature and registration check to make sure at least 122 of the signatures are valid and registered to vote in the township.

“I have appointed Nadelle Fournier (Edwards’ deputy clerk) to act in Dennis Stephens’ place,” Klacking said. “She has 15 days to do this review.”

Klacking said he has seven days to do his portion of the review.

After that, from day 22-30, the person whose recall is sought has the right to challenge the signatures, Klacking said.

“I complete the final review no later than the 35th day after the recall petition filing,” Klacking said.

Recall language was approved against Stephens June 4 by the Ogemaw County Elections Commission.

The language was filed by former Clerk Douglas Brewer, who claims that despite there not being a signed contract between the city of West Branch and Edwards Township regarding the use of the former Page Street Senior Center, Stephens voted to sue the city for breach of contract after the city stopped using the facility for seniors and converted it into its police department.

It was the second time language was filed by Brewer against Stephens. Recall language was denied May 23 because it was not considered to be factual. In addition to the claim that was approved June 4, the language in May also stated the recall attempt was due to the disrespect and mistreatment of township Trustee Brent Illig during the township’s Feb. 12 meeting, where Stephens publicly called for Illig to resign.

That language was unanimously denied by the elections commission, which consists of Klacking, Probate Judge Shana Lambourn and county Treasurer Dwight McIntyre.


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