2018-07-11 / Front Page

Mayfield Twp. recall bid is over

Organizer still wants more accountability
BY JEFF HOGAN
810-452-2640 • jhogan@mihomepaper.com

MAYFIELD TWP. — The bid by Mayfield Township resident Joy Boots to recall Supervisor Dianna Ireland is over.

Boots had initiated a recall drive to remove Ireland from office after she and the Mayfield Township board voted last winter to start a township fire department, a decision that took many township residents by surprise as there had been no public discussion of such an endeavor leading up to the decision.

Boots, 75, began a petition drive in early June to gather the necessary 670 signatures to put a recall election before Mayfield Township residents next fall. That initiative began in April when recall language was submitted to Lapeer County officials for their review and approval. Boots had until Aug. 3 to turn in the petitions.

On Monday that effort came to an end.

“After much prayer and consideration, the recall is being withdrawn but this does not mean that the accountability stops too,” Boots said. “I wish to thank those who gave their time and effort in support of the recall. Most of the petitioners found voters taking this lack of accountability very serious. This was proven by the high success rate in getting signatures from the voters the petitioners talked with.”

On May 14, the Mayfield Township Board decided to dissolve current plans for a fire department and part ways with contracted service with Lapeer fire & Rescue. Township officials had complained they were charged too much for fire service with Lapeer Fire & Rescue and weren’t afforded input into department decision making — a claim Lapeer officials refuted.

The Mayfield Township Board followed up the May 14 board decision action by sending minutes of the meeting to the Michigan Bureau of Fire Services that indicated the board’s decision to dissolve the fire department and thereby end any notice in state government that Mayfield Township had a fire department. Confirmation of that action was sent to Mayfield Township officials on June 1.

Said Boots, “I did say that I would withdraw it if the fire department was dissolved and I will honor that. Any further pursuance would be moot and meaningless at this point.

It is sad that it took a recall to have the Mayfield Township Fire Department dissolved, but another purpose of this recall was the accountability mentioned above — the accountability of elected officials to the electorate. This recall is over, but the accountability will continue.”

She continued, “The board continues to distance themselves from the public and this is a big mistake. Their reluctance to move the meeting time from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. is an example that they are still not listening.”

Boots was frustrated by township leadership, but her recall experience also identified other areas of concern.

“I also hold the apathy of the electorate as a big part of this problem. They should also be held accountable. It is amazing how many people have no idea about what is going on in their own township, and the sad thing is that most don’t even care. We are that government and once we relinquish the right to govern we are at the mercy of those we elect. They pretty much have a free reign and we as the electorate are giving them that power. Shame on us.”

Ireland chose not to comment on the decision by Boots to end the recall drive against her.

Boots said her recall initiative demonstrated several things. “It shows that people do have a voice. If someone like me can do this, anyone can,” said Boots. “If you don’t like something, do something about it.”

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