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The township leaders in Washtenaw County have made a return call

The township leaders in Washtenaw County have made a return call

WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI - Two elected leaders in Scio Township, just outside Ann Arbor, have challenged an attempt to oust them from office in a recall election by filing appeals in court.

Will Hathaway, a supervisor, and a trustee, Jane Vogel, are the targets of a statewide lawsuit.

Both Hathaway and Vogel, both elected in 2020, are each represented by attorney Mark Brewer, a former chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. Brewer filed a motion on November 15 demanding that the approval of petition language against both officials be overturned, just as the 10-day deadline for the prosecution was over.

The paperwork filed in the Washtenaw County Circuit Court does not provide the legal grounds for the contests, according to Brewer.

David Read, a former trustee himself, and Patricia Stein have spearheaded the effort to remove the two leaders from the post office following a special election, bolstered by a vocal group of supporters who accuse the officials of suppressing public comment and sparring with other elected leaders.

There are a number of concerns, from alleged violations of Michigan's laws to impropriety around the vote on the supervisor's compensation in August, according to local authorities.

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After the county Election Commission rejected their petitions for failing to meet standards of factuality and clarity, Read and Stein re-filed recall terms against Hathaway and Vogel in late October. This time, it narrowly targeted the pay boost approved by the board on Aug. 17, which increased Hathaways salary from a part-time level of $36,000 to $72,000.

Another resident who has filed a motion to declare the vote invalid, claiming it sidestepped a commission that would have been established to set officials' salaries and violated Michigan Law, according to Hathaway and the township.

Hathaway would have needed the increase to adequately compensate his full-time work in the, and the money was built into the budget approved months earlier, according to the supervisor.

On May 11, 2021, the Scio Township Board of Trustees meets virtually via Zoom.Lucas Smolcic Larson | lsmolciclarson@mlive.com

The current petition against Hathaway reads: Supervisor Hathaway proposed a special meeting of the Scio Township Board of Trustees to take place on Tuesday, August 17, 2021, at which he requested and received a double of his salary..

Vogel's words include: "At the Scio Township Board of Trustees special meeting held at 4 p.m. on August 17, 2021, Trustee Vogel has voted to double the supervisor's salary."

At a hearing on November 5, the three-person county Election Commission, tasked with ensuring the language meets basic standards of clarity, but not with gathering evidence to prove or disprove the claims, oked those petitions.

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According to state law, the appeals against a recommendation halts residents' ability to circulate the petitions and collect the 2,439 signatures from local registered voters required to force the recall elections.

According to court records, the court has 40 days to decide if the petitions are accurate and of sufficient clarity. The petitions can only be circulated again if they survive appeal or that time limit passes.

The last high-profile appeal to go to court was that D-1st Ward used a quote to form a recall but to force a recall election before the deadline.

According to Ed Golembiewski, the last time local voters had the opportunity to oust a local official from office that way was a decade ago.

According to court records, no hearing date has been set for the two Scio Township recall appeals from Tuesday to November 16.

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