2018-06-10 / Front Page

Volunteers join effort to recall Mayfield supervisor

BY JEFF HOGAN
810-452-2640 • jhogan @mihomepaper.com


Mayfield Township recall organizer Joy Boots and recall opponent Maurice Freed exchanged words Thursday afternoon outside Mott Community College in Lapeer. 
Photo by Jeff Hogan Mayfield Township recall organizer Joy Boots and recall opponent Maurice Freed exchanged words Thursday afternoon outside Mott Community College in Lapeer. Photo by Jeff Hogan LAPEER — The recall election drive to remove Mayfield Township Supervisor Dianna Ireland began in earnest Thursday afternoon after organizer Joy Boots held a meeting to solicit volunteers to help circulate petitions.

Boots seeks to remove Ireland from office after she and the Mayfield Township Board last winter voted to form an independent fire department, and break away from contracted fire service with Lapeer Fire & Rescue.

She continues her recall bid even after the Mayfield Township Board on May 14 agreed to end their immediate plans to pursue a fire department following citizen backlash and a threat of a recall against Ireland. Mayfield Township officials said they were charged too much by Lapeer Fire & Rescue and instead sought local control and independence and as a result initiated their own department.


Carel Boots, husband of recall organizer Joy Boots (left), gets a signature from Mayfield Township resident Don Murray to oust Supervisor Dianna Ireland from office. 
Photo by Jeff Hogan Carel Boots, husband of recall organizer Joy Boots (left), gets a signature from Mayfield Township resident Don Murray to oust Supervisor Dianna Ireland from office. Photo by Jeff Hogan Lapeer officials contend otherwise, and have indicated an openness to continue a dialogue on contracted fire services.

Boots and the recall petition circulators need to collect at last 670 signatures by Aug. 3 in order to place a recall question before township residents on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot.

Lapeer County Clerk Theresa Spencer would like to see the petitions before early August, so her office has sufficient time to check the validity of the gathered signatures — should Boots gather the nearly 700 she needs.

“This recall is about accountability and principles and having the voice of the people heard. The fire department has not yet been removed from the records in Lansing. This shows a complete lack of respect and disregard for the citizens of Mayfield Township,” said Ireland.

In a prepared statement of a suggested message for petition circulators to share with Mayfield Township residents Boots said, “An impact study was done by Michigan State University concerning townships in Michigan and their need for a fire department. The conclusion is that Mayfield Township is one of safest townships in Michigan with the 12 surrounding fire departments in the immediate area. Mayfield Township does not need its own fire department. Supervisor Ireland could give no legitimate reason for a fire department and has told the voters they have no say in the matter except how to pay for it.”

She continued, “I don’t play games and am very tired of their only doing what they should when they feel concerned. If we withdrew the recall at this stage, we would lose the bulk of the impact. We have the attention of the board, but not their cooperation. They are still unwilling to work with or even acknowledge the public. This is about accountability. It is time for voters to be heard.”

Ireland did not return a phone call from The County Press.

Held at 2 p.m. outside the Mott Community College- Lapeer building where they originally intended to gather (because the facility was closed owing to a flooded basement), approximately 20 recall petitions were distributed to Mayfield Township residents Thursday afternoon. Each petition has space for 12 signatures.

Boots has divided the township into 36 quadrants where she hopes the volunteers will work to garner the necessary signatures.

She won’t be getting any help from township resident Maurice Freed who recently sought to have the recall petition withdrawn. Freed dropped by Thursday’s meeting and had words with Boots and recall supporters.

“I support good government. What you’re doing now is hindering the ability of the township to do their business,” said Freed. If Mayfield Township officials intend to pursue discussions about starting a fire department Freed said, “I want to see the research. I volunteered my services to sit on the advisory board if they form one.”

Freed continued, “But what you’re doing is wrong. This is voter rescindication. This makes no sense. You asked them to dissolve the fire department; they did. You said you wanted an advisory board to review the idea of a fire department; they said they would. It’s a moot point, so I don’t see the need for a recall.”

According to Spencer, there are 5,980 registered voters in Mayfield Township. Should a recall make the November election ballot, new state recall law requires a replacement election to occur at the same time to minimize costs to municipalities to conduct elections as well as to reduce the risk of disrupted governance as the result of a vacancy.

Boots will hold the next meeting for recall volunteers on Tuesday, June 19 at 7 p.m. at her home at 2717 Haines Rd., a half-mile east of Fish Lake Road.

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