Petition language to recall Cedar Springs Mayor Charlie Watson was rejected Friday morning, September 21, by the Kent County Election Commission.
According to Kent County Elections Director Susan deSteiguer, the Commission felt there were two concerns with the language. One, the language stated that it was to recall Mayor/Councilperson Charlie Watson. It came out in the hearing that citizens can not recall the Mayor, because citizens don’t elect the Mayor—the City Council does. Watson’s term as Mayor ends in November, and his term on the council ends in November 2013.
Sue deStiguer said the second reason it was rejected was that they felt the language was insufficient to allow the Mayor to justify his conduct to his constituents. (A spot would be given to him on the ballot for him to do that.) The language read “fiscal mismanagement regarding Red Flannel logos, resulting in a larger expense to the taxpayers.” She said that one of the comments made was that it wasn’t clear whether he didn’t buy enough logos or what the problem was.
deStiguer said that new language was filed immediately after the hearing by the petitioner, Cedar Springs resident Molly Nixon, and that a new clarity hearing was set for Wednesday, October 10, at 8:45 a.m. in the second floor training room of the Kent County Administration building. The new language reads “Failure to reach an agreement with the Red Flannel Festival regarding the city’s use of their logos. Rejecting an offer to keep using the logos for $4,000 per year of in-kind services. Causing the city’s legal bill alone for this matter to top $6,000, which is more than if we had just kept using the logos.”
The Kent County Elections Commission is made up of the Chief Probate Judge, the Kent County Clerk, and the Kent County Treasurer.